Type of white blood cell in the vertebrate immune system. By their appearance under the light microscope, there are two broad categories of lymphocytes, namely the large granular lymphocytes and the small lymphocytes.
Functionally distinct subsets of lymphocytes correlate with their appearance. Most, but not all large granular lymphocytes are more commonly known as the natural killer cells (NK cells). The small lymphocytes are the T cells and B cells. Lymphocytes play an important and integral role in the body's defenses.