locator iconlocator icon
All Labs
add to cart

Differential leucocyte Count

Interpreting Results
Tests Included

Overview of DLC

What is DLC?

Leukocytes or white blood cells (WBCs) are blood cells which form an integral part of the immune system of the body. There are five types of WBCs with each of them having different functions. Differential Leukocyte Count Test measures the total number of all the WBCs in blood.

Why is DLC done?

The Differential Leukocyte Count Test is performed:

·        As a part of Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test in regular health checkups

·        As follow up test in case of abnormal CBC results

·        To help diagnose infections and inflammation

·        To help diagnose conditions that decrease WBC count like bone marrow disorders

·         To monitor bone marrow function

·         To monitor chemotherapy treatment

What does DLC Measure?

Blood is made up of different types of cells which are suspended in a fluid called plasma. These include erythrocytes or red blood cells, leukocytes or white blood cells, and platelets. Blood cells are produced by the hematopoietic cells in bone marrow and are then released into circulation. RBCs carry oxygen to the tissues, platelets help in blood clotting at a site of injury, and leukocytes form an integral part of the immune system of the body.

WBCs are of five types, each having a different function and present in different numbers:

1.      Neutrophils: Under normal conditions, the number of neutrophils present is higher than any other type of WBCs.. They provide protection against pathogens, mostly bacteria and sometimes fungi. Neutrophils engulf the pathogens completely and digest them (the process is called phagocytosis). They are usually associated with acute or short-term infections.

2.      Eosinophils: Eosinophils are WBCs that are primarily responsible to fight parasitic infections. They are also involved in allergic reactions and regulation of the extent of immune response.

3.      Basophils: Basophils are WBCs which are present in the lowest numbers in circulation. They are considered to play an important role in allergic response.

[Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are together classified as granulocytes. Granulocytes are the WBCs which contain granules present in their cytoplasm. These granules secrete chemicals during immune response.]

4.      Monocytes: Monocytes are WBCs which are also involved in protection against infectious pathogens by phagocytosis like neutrophils. However, monocytes are more commonly associated with chronic or long-term infections.

5.      Lymphocytes: These are specialized WBCs which are responsible for recognizing and neutralizing foreign (non-self) cells and cancer cells in the body. Lymphocytes are of three types, all of which are differentiated from a common type of lymphocyte progenitor cell:

·         T cells or T lymphocytes are produced in the bone marrow and mature in the thymus gland. They are responsible for differentiating between self and non-self cells of the body. T cells are also responsible for the initiation and extent of immune response, and targeted destruction of cancer cells and virus.

·         B cells or B lymphocytes are control acquired immunity by producing antibodies against antigens found on foreign cells and pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

·         Natural killer cells or NK cells destroy all foreign cells tagged by antibodies, cancer cells and virus-infected cells by phagocytosis.

Depending on various factors like age, gender, health condition, environmental factors, etc., varying amounts of different types of WBCs circulate in the blood. The bone marrow increases production of WBCs in response to an infection or inflammation anywhere in the body, which are then called to the site by a series of chemical signals, where they work to treat the condition. Depending on the condition, the count of one or more types of WBCs remains high in the blood. Once the condition subsides, WBC production by the bone marrow decreases and their count in circulation falls back to normal levels. Elevated amount of one or more types of leukocytes for a long time may be an indication of a chronic condition that is not resolving naturally and might need urgent attention.

Apart from an infection or inflammation, WBC count in blood can also be affected by other conditions like disorders of the immune system, autoimmune conditions, cancer, etc. One or more types of WBC count may be higher or lower than normal in these cases.

Differential Leukocyte Count Test serves as an indication of a condition affecting the body. Further tests are performed to confirm a particular condition and direct treatment.

Preparation for DLC

  • No special preparation required

Sample Type for DLC

The sample type collected for Differential leucocyte Count is: Blood

Interpreting DLC results


Normal range (Approx.):


    Mean number


    Absolute counts X 109

    per liter

    Segmented Neutrophils















    Note: Normal range of leukocyte count depends on a number of factors apart from age, including gender, health condition, previous instance of diseases, vaccinations, etc. The range also varies slightly between different laboratories performing the test.

    The results of the differential leukocyte count may be interpreted in combination with other tests as follows:

    Type of WBC

    Conditions causing higher than normal count

    Conditions causing lower than normal count


    Known as neutrophilia

    ·         Acute infections, mostly bacterial, and in some cases viral or fungal

    ·         Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis

    ·         Necrosis (tissue death) caused by burns, trauma, surgery, heart attack, etc.

    ·         Heavy physical exercise and stress

    ·         Smoking cigarettes

    ·         Third trimester pregnancy and labor

    ·         Chronic leukemia

    Known as neutropenia

    ·         Myelodysplastic syndrome

    ·         Severe infections like sepsis

    ·         Certain drugs like penicillin, ibuprofen, etc.

    ·         Autoimmune disorders

    ·         Chemotherapy

    ·         Cancer that spreads to bone marrow

    ·         Aplastic anemia


    Known as lymphocytosis

    ·         Acute viral infections like hepatitis, chicken pox, herpes, etc.

    ·         Certain bacterial infections like whooping cough, tuberculosis, etc.

    ·         Lymphoma

    ·         Lymphocytic leukemia

    Known as lymphopenia or lymphocytopenia

    ·         Autoimmune disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

    ·         Infections like AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, influenza, etc.

    ·         Bone marrow damage due to chemotherapy

    ·         Immune deficiency


    Known as monocytosis

    ·         Chronic infections

    ·         Heart infections like bacterial endocarditis

    ·         Collagen vascular diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, etc.

    ·         Inflammatory bowel disease

    ·         Monocytic leukemia

    ·         Chronic and juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia

    Known as monocytopenia

    A single low count is medically insignificant. Low counts in subsequent tests may be indications of health conditions.

    Repeated low counts can indicate:

    ·         Hairy-cell leukemia

    ·         Bone marrow damage or failure


    Known as eosinophilia

    ·         Asthma

    ·         Allergies such as hay fever

    ·         Drug reactions

    ·         Inflammation of skin like eczema, dermatitis, etc.

    ·         Parasitic infections

    ·         Inflammatory diseases like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.

    ·         Certain cancers

    ·         Hypereosinophilic myeloid neoplasms

    Known as eosinopenia

    Eosinophil count is normally low and lower than normal counts may be difficult to determine.

    One or an occasional low number is usually not medically significant.


    Known as basophilia

    ·         Rare and severe allergic reactions like hives, food allergy

    ·         Inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, etc.

    ·         Some leukemias like chronic myeloid leukemia

    Known as basopenia

    Basophil count is normally low and lower than normal counts may be difficult to determine.

    One or an occasional low number is usually not medically significant.

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about DLC

Frequently Asked Questions about Differential leucocyte Count

Q. How is this test performed?
This test is performed on a blood sample. A syringe with a fine needle is used to withdraw blood from a blood vessel in your arm. The healthcare provider will tie an elastic band around your arm to make the blood vessels swell with blood. This makes it easier to withdraw blood. You may be asked to tightly clench your fist. Once the veins are clearly visible, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the needle is inserted into the blood vessel to collect the sample. You will feel a tiny pinprick during the procedure. Blood sample once collected will then be sent to the laboratory.
Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, since this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, in very rare cases, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin), bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
Q. Is there any preparation required before the test?
Inform the doctor about the medications you may be taking. No other specific preparations are usually required before this test.
Q. What other tests can be prescribed by your doctor in case the results of Differential Leucocyte Count Test is not normal?
Other tests that may be prescribed upon appearance of an abnormal result in the Differential Leucocyte Count Test which can include: · Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test · Blood Smear Test · Bacterial and viral cultures · Tests for inflammation (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, C-Reactive Protein, etc.) · Tests for autoimmune diseases (Antinuclear antibody) · Allergy tests · Immunophenotyping · Chromosome analysis · Imaging tests (CT Scan, MRI, etc.) · Biopsy
Q. What is Leukocytosis?
Leukocytosis is a condition where the leukocyte count is higher than the normal range. This may occur due to: · Infections · Inflammation or inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, allergies · Cancers like leukemia, myeloproliferative neoplasms · Conditions causing necrosis (tissue death) like severe burns, trauma, surgery, etc. · Cigarette smoking · Surgical removal of spleen · Allergy · Very heavy physical exercise · Pregnancy · Certain drugs like corticosteroids, epinephrine, heparin, lithium, etc.
Q. What is Leukopenia?
Leukopenia is the condition where leukocyte count is lower than the normal range. This may occur due to: · Damage to the bone marrow due to toxins, radiotherapy, chemotherapy · Bone marrow diseases that reduce leukocyte production like myelodysplastic syndrome, deficiency of vitamin B12 or folate · Lymphoma · Cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the bone marrow · Autoimmune conditions affecting WBCs like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) · Malnutrition · Liver or spleen diseases · Large scale or severe infections like sepsis · Immune system diseases like AIDS · Certain drugs like antibiotics, anticonvulsants, captopril, chemotherapy drugs, etc.
+ more

Tests Included in Differential leucocyte Count(6 tests)

  • Differential Neutrophil Count
  • Differential Lymphocyte Count
  • Differential Monocyte Count
  • Differential Granulocyte Count
  • Differential Eosinophil Count
  • Differential Basophil Count

Provided By




About Dr. Lal Pathlabs

We focus on providing patients quality diagnostic healthcare services in India. Through our network, we offer patients convenient locations for their diagnostic healthcare services and efficient service. With over 3368 diagnostic and related healthcare tests and services offered, we believe we are capable of performing substantially all of the diagnostic healthcare tests and services currently prescribed by physicians in India. Our key competitive strengths are: Business model focused on the patient as a customer and an established consumer healthcare brand associated with quality services, in a market where patients generally choose their diagnostic healthcare service provider. Well-positioned to leverage upon one of the fastest-growing segments of the Indian healthcare industry. A network whose growth yields greater economies of scale, combined with a hub and spoke model that is scalable for further growth. Centralized information technology platform that fully integrates our network and is scalable. Attractive financial performance, financial profile and return on invested capital. Experienced leadership team with strong industry expertise and successful track record. Some of our laboratories have achieved International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, certification for their quality systems. Our National Reference Laboratory has obtained ISO 9001:2008 certification (for the performance of routine and advanced diagnostic pathology testing services, including clinical trials), ISO 15189:2007 (for quality management in medical laboratories), ISO 15189:2012 certification (in the field of medical testing) and ISO 27001:2013 certification (for establishing an effective information management system that maintains and processes information security at our data center).