Basophils: Functions, Values ​​and Associated Diseases

White blood cells, or leukocytes, are blood cells responsible for the immune response, acting in defense of the body against antigens and foreign substances.

The basophils They are one of the types of white blood cells that exist in the blood, although they are the least abundant. In fact, they only represent 1% of the leukocytes present in the blood system.

Cells that are able to easily stain with basic dyes, such as hematoxylin, a natural compound used in histology, are also called basophils.

Basophils contain granules in their membranes that help them work with the immune system to fight infection or inflammation. Due to these granules, which contain proteins, they are considered part of the granulocyte family.

In addition to having granules inside, they have receptors for immunoglobulin E (IgE), which releases cytokines when there are allergies.

What are Basophils

In 1879, Paul Ehrlich described them for the first time, initiating studies on these cells of the immune system, which are also produced in the bone marrow.

They are held responsible for the initiation of the allergic response. This is because they contain histamine, which they release when the immune system detects the existence of some infections or allergies.

Due to this and other discoveries, it is important to know what basophils are, their functions, their normal values ​​and associated diseases, and thus be able to assess their existence in our blood.

Basophils are leukocytes that are involved in the detection and destruction of cancer in early stages, as well as in wound repair.


The main functions of these white blood cells are act like:


Releasing heparin, an anticoagulant element that prevents blood from clotting too quickly when you have a wound, preventing exsanguination.


Releasing histamine, a blood vessel dilator that increases blood flow to tissues and acts on infections or allergic reactions.

In conclusion, among its functions is to avoid allergies, an activity that they carry out through the activation of the immune system. To do this, they secrete the substances contained in their granules, which facilitate the elimination of germs or agents that cause allergies and other infections. For example, they accumulate in tissues, mainly nasal or lung mucosa or in the skin, when there are infections.

Normal values

The normal values ​​of these cells They can be known through a blood culture, which is recommended to be performed annually in order to locate any abnormality in time.

These values ​​are within the following ranges for reference:

  • For men and women: 20 to 200 / µl
  • For children: 10 to 300 / µl

Associated diseases

There are several pathologies related to an abnormal count of basophils, some of these diseases associated with these most frequent cells are:

  • Those that generate a basopenia, which is the decrease in the number of basophils, such as thyrotoxicosis, acute hypersensitivity or infections.
  • Those that cause a basophilia, which is the increase in the number of basophils, such as hypothyroidism, polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis.
  • Those that cause both increases and decreases in basophils, such as hyperthyroidism.
  • Those that destroy basophils, such as hemolytic anemia.

Generally, in all diseases where the values ​​of these leukocytes are increased, pruritus and allergic reactions occur as a consequence. Changes in the levels of these leukocytes in the blood are detected through a complete blood count, often done for other reasons.

It is important to highlight that the treatment should be directed to the diseases that cause their increase. To have control of white blood cells, including this type of leukocyte, it is necessary to have a balanced diet and practice sports regularly.

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