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Metamyelocyte vs. Myelocyte — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on May 1, 2024
Metamyelocytes are a later developmental stage of myeloid cell lineage involved in immune response, differing from earlier-stage myelocytes by their more differentiated state and kidney-shaped nuclei.
Metamyelocyte vs. Myelocyte — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Metamyelocyte and Myelocyte


Key Differences

Metamyelocytes are an intermediate stage in the maturation of granulocytes, part of the white blood cell lineage, whereas myelocytes are earlier precursors in the same lineage that display less morphological differentiation.
Metamyelocytes exhibit a distinct, indented, or kidney-shaped nucleus due to their progression towards becoming mature granulocytes, while myelocytes have a rounder and more uniform nucleus, reflecting their less mature state.
The presence of metamyelocytes in the blood is often indicative of a reactive process, such as infection or inflammation, on the other hand, myelocytes are typically found in the bone marrow and their presence in the blood can suggest a marrow pathology or severe stress.
In terms of size, metamyelocytes are generally smaller than myelocytes due to further development and condensation of cellular components as they approach the final stages of maturation.
Clinically, the identification of metamyelocytes can help assess the stage of immune response or diagnose specific hematological conditions, whereas myelocytes can provide insights into the bone marrow function and overall hematopoiesis.

Comparison Chart

Developmental Stage

Later stage of granulocyte maturation
Earlier stage of granulocyte maturation

Nucleus Shape

Kidney-shaped or indented
Round and uniform

Typical Location

Blood during reactive processes
Primarily in bone marrow


Smaller due to further development
Larger, less condensed

Clinical Significance

Indicates stage of immune response or disease
Indicates bone marrow function or pathology

Compare with Definitions


A transitional stage in granulocyte maturation.
The blood smear showed an increased number of metamyelocytes, indicative of an ongoing infection.


An immature granulocyte precursor.
Myelocytes are abundant in bone marrow but not typically present in blood.


Found in blood during infection or stress.
Metamyelocytes often appear in blood tests during severe infections.


Indicates marrow activity or pathology when in blood.
Finding myelocytes in the bloodstream can point to underlying bone marrow disorders.


Characterized by a kidney-shaped nucleus.
The distinct feature of a metamyelocyte is its uniquely indented nucleus.


Found only in the bone marrow under normal conditions.
In healthy individuals, myelocytes are confined to the marrow.


Closer to becoming a mature granulocyte.
Metamyelocytes evolve into either neutrophils, eosinophils, or basophils.


Essential for hematopoiesis.
The production of myelocytes is crucial for the ongoing replenishment of blood cells.


Sign of an active immune response.
The presence of metamyelocytes is a marker of the body's fight against infection.


Has a round, uniform nucleus.
The myelocyte's nucleus is less developed and more circular than that of more mature cells.


A metamyelocyte is a cell undergoing granulopoiesis, derived from a myelocyte, and leading to a band cell. It is characterized by the appearance of a bent nucleus, cytoplasmic granules, and the absence of visible nucleoli.


A myelocyte is a young cell of the granulocytic series, occurring normally in bone marrow (can be found in circulating blood when caused by certain diseases).


A cell undergoing granulopoiesis, derived from a myelocyte, and leading to a band cell; it is characterized by the appearance of a bent nucleus, cytoplasmic granules, and the absence of visible nucleoli.


A large cell of the bone marrow that is a precursor of the neutrophils and other granulocytes of the blood.


A large cell, found in bone marrow, that becomes a granulocyte when mature


A cell associated with the myelin of the brain and spinal cord


An immature leukocyte normally found in bone marrow

Common Curiosities

What does the presence of metamyelocytes in the blood indicate?

It often indicates an active immune response, such as in infection or inflammation.

Are metamyelocytes normally found in the blood?

No, their presence in the blood typically indicates an abnormal condition or severe stress response.

Why are myelocytes important in hematopoiesis?

They represent a critical stage in the development of cells that will eventually become part of the immune system.

What role do metamyelocytes play in the immune system?

They are precursors to mature granulocytes, which are essential for fighting infections.

How can metamyelocytes be differentiated from myelocytes?

Metamyelocytes have a kidney-shaped nucleus, while myelocytes have a round nucleus.

How do treatments affect levels of metamyelocytes and myelocytes?

Treatments like chemotherapy can affect their production and presence in the blood.

Can stress affect the levels of metamyelocytes and myelocytes?

Yes, severe physiological or psychological stress can lead to increased levels of these cells in the bloodstream.

What is a myelocyte?

An early-stage cell in the development of granulocytes, part of the immune system's cellular components.

What implications does the presence of myelocytes in the blood have?

It may indicate a disruption in bone marrow function or an acute response to severe stress.

What is a metamyelocyte?

A cell that is part of the white blood cell maturation process, specifically the stage before becoming a fully mature granulocyte.

What conditions can lead to the appearance of myelocytes in blood?

Conditions such as severe infections, marrow displacement diseases, or chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Can the identification of these cells help in diagnosing diseases?

Yes, identifying these cells can help diagnose specific hematological diseases and assess bone marrow function.

What is the typical size comparison between metamyelocytes and myelocytes?

Metamyelocytes are typically smaller due to their more advanced stage of cellular development.

Are there any diseases associated specifically with abnormalities in metamyelocytes and myelocytes?

Diseases such as leukemia, severe infections, and other bone marrow dysfunctions can be associated with these cells.

How are metamyelocytes and myelocytes viewed in a clinical setting?

They are evaluated in blood and bone marrow tests to assess the status of hematopoiesis and immune response.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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