Basophils - Definition and Function

What are Basophils?

Basophils are one of the several types of white blood cells produced by the body’s immune system. They also release compounds which produce immune responses such as histamine, heparin and serotonin.

Basophil Functions in the Human Body

The function of basophils is to clean up toxins, like pollen and animal dander that gets into our system. When we come in contact with something our immune system does not recognize, the basophils will react and create a hive-like structure around the substance and release their chemicals to deal with it.

  • Current research also shows that basophils are similar to mast cells, which are blood cells present in the connective tissues of the body.
  • Basophils also provide “surveillance” by detecting and destroying early cancer cells.
  • During an asthma attack or an allergic reaction, basophils release the histamine in their granules.
  • Basophils also protect the body from microbial pathogens, parasites, and even venom and poisons.

Allergic Reactions

Histamine produced by the basophils can incite severe reaction to normally harmless substances such as pollen and animal dander. These can act on:

  • Throat
  • Nose
  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Gastrointestinal tract

The effects of allergic reactions can be alleviated by taking antihistamine medication.

Basophils Range

Usually, basophils account for 0.5 to 1% of the total white blood cell count. Any deviation from this can suggest an underlying illness or a medical condition.

High Basophil Count

Generally, high level of basophils are linked to certain disorders and medical conditions. Some of these include:

  • Bone marrow diseases
  • Allergic reaction
  • Chronuc Myelogenous leukemia
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chikenpox

Low Basophil Count

As stated above, basophil count that deviates from an established standard range might indicate certain medical conditons or disorders. Some of these are:

  • Serious Injury
  • Acute infection
  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Cancer

Further Reading:

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