What the heck are Large unstained cells?

Large unstained cells (LUCs) constitute around 5% of a normal population of circulating white blood cells, and reflect the same situation as in other species, i.e. increases are due to reactive, activated or atypical lymphocytes, or mononuclear cells.

Large unstained cells are either large or reactive lymphocytes, monocytes or leukemic blasts. This marker is sometimes included in the automated laboratory test when looking at white blood cells.

The percentage of large unstained cells (%LUCs) is a differential count parameter measured by certain routine hematology analyzers and reflects activated lymphocytes and peroxidase-negative cells.

Optimal range: 0 – 0.4 x10E3/µL

What are high values associated with?

A raised value seems to be a marker for a range of virus infections.

Other causes of a raised LUC score which should be excluded before a viral cause is looked for are: leukaemia; chronic renal failure; postoperative response; and malaria. A normal LUC score does not exclude viral infection as not all viruses may cause an increased LUC count.

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