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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-31

The influence of adrenal secretons on leucocyte distribution and counts: Investigation into the aetiology of idiopathic benign ethnic leuko-neutropenia

1 Faculty of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Nigeria
2 Faculty of Medicine Abia State University Medical School at Uturu, Nigeria

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E D Nwobodo
Faculty of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi
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Many apparently, health Africans present with leuko-neutropenia. The origin of the so-called benign ethnic leuko-neut ropenia remains uncertain. Africans are also, known to have small adrenal cortices. Cortisol is the major secretion of t he adrenal cortex, which profoundly influences leukocyte profile. We investigated the influence of Adrenalectomy (ADX) on the leuk oc yte distribution of albino rats , and correlated the plasma cortisol level of apparently healthy adult male Nigerians (n=20) with their leukocyte distribution . AD X caused a re-d istribution of leukocyte total and difj"erential counts in our animal model of albino rats producing lymphocyte dominance and relative leuko-neutropenia. The plasma cortisol levels of our subjects showed significant negative correlation with lymphoc yte frequency and a significant positive correlation with neutrophil and t otal leukocyte cunts. T hese findings suggest that lymphocyte dominance, relative neutropenia and relative leucopenia , which are common features of some leukopenic Africans can be accounted for by the level of plasma cortisol. We speculate that ethnic leuk o-neutropenia may be due to adrenocortical hypofunction , which reportedly occurs in Africans.

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