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Hematology and immunology are a lot like physics, continually witnessing discoveries of new particles that alter concepts of previously identified particles. The recent identification of a white blood cell fragment, the neutrophil pseudoplatelet—so named because it looks like a platelet and acts like a neutrophil—may be one such discovery (Science 1983; 220:415-417).
According to Jacob S. Hanker, PhD, professor of neurobiology and oral biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and adjunct associate professor of pathology, Duke University, Durham, NC, the particle had been observed, but not identified, for some time. In an interview with JAMA MEDICAL NEWS he explained, "These small particles have been noted in two situations—in purulent exudate and in peripheral blood samples from leukemia patients. However, in the first case they were thought to be fragments of neutrophils and in the second case they were often mistaken for platelets themselves."
Hanker also held this belief until
Merz B. Newly identified particle may explain spurious platelet count. JAMA. 1983;249(23):3146-3147. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330470004001