Basophils are produced in your bone marrow, circulate in the blood and are the least abundant of all leukocytes. They are classified as immune cells and categorized a granulocytes. Therefore, the basic function of this white blood cell is release of its substances in response to a foreign invasion.
Although a full understanding of how a basophil functions is incomplete, here’s what’s been observed so far. It is stimulated to release granules of toxic enzymes in an effort to neutralize parasites. Basophils also contain histamine and the anticoagulant heparin, which causes inflammation and prevents blood from clotting when released. These substances are chemically signaled to be released in the presence of certain pathogens, allergens or tissue damage. As such, basophils probably play an active role in causing symptoms of asthma and allergic reactions.
Testing for your basophil count in blood is used to help diagnosis or manage treatment of various health conditions. For instance, a high basophil count may be seen with:
- viral infection
- chronic sinusitis
- parasite infection
- hemolytic anemia
- chronic dermatitis
- Hodgkins lymphoma
- chronic myeloid leukemia
- myelodysplastic syndrome
- IBD ~ ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease
- myeloproliferative disease ~ polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis
And your basophil count is commonly high after your spleen has been removed.