Pronounced: ay-GRAN-yoo-loh-cy-TOH-sisEn Español (Spanish Version)
Agranulocytosis is a low level of white blood cells. These blood cells are part of the immune system. They help fight infections.
Agranulocytosis may be:
- Acquired—Develops after medical treatment or specific drugs. May appear suddenly or develop over time.
Congenital—present at birth
- Cyclic neutropenia—cycles up and down over a 21-day period
- Severe congenital neutropenia
White Blood Cells
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Agranulocytosis is caused by destruction of white blood cells or by the failure of bone marrow to make enough white blood cells.
With congenital agranulocytosis, these problems are caused by a genetic defect.
With acquired agranulocytosis, these problems may be caused by:
- Infections by virus, bacteria, or parasite
- Underlying inflammatory condition
- Drugs—used in medical treatment or recreational use
- Autoimmune disease—your immune systems attacks your own tissue such as white blood cells
- Damage to bone marrow usually by chemicals, radiation, or cancers
- Certain toxins
- Poor nutrition—particularly low protein intake
Last reviewedAugust 2013by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.