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White cell function may be impaired because of too few cells or because of abnormal function.
Reduced neutrophil function predisposes to bacterial infections, particularly those causing ulceration in the mouth and oropharynx. The main causes of reduced numbers of neutrophils (neutropenia)} are:
Generalized abnormalities of marrow function (associated with disorders of red cells and platelets).
Marrow hypoplasia, which is commonly acquired due to therapeutic irradiation or chemotherapy, B12 or folate deficiency, and some overwhelming infections. Reduced marrow cellularity is seen on bone marrow biopsy.
Abnormal destruction of neutrophils (drug-induced, autoimmune, hypersplenism). This is associated with
increase in neutrophil precursors on bone marrow biopsy.
Among the main causes of defective neutrophil function are systemic disturbances, particularly
diabetes mellitus, corticosteroid therapy, renal failure and alcoholism. Rare congenital causes may
lead to defects in phagocytosis and bacterial killing.

decrease Numbers of lymphoid cells (lymphopenia) are reduced with age, but this is also seen in association with SLE, steroid therapy, and immune-deficiency states.
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