What are basophils?
Your body naturally produces several different types of white blood cells. White blood cells work to keep you healthy by fighting off viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
Basophils are a type of white blood cell. Although they’re produced in the bone marrow, they’re found in many tissues throughout your body.
They’re part of your immune system and play a role in its proper function.
If your basophil level is low, it may be due to a severe allergic reaction. If you develop an infection, it may take longer to heal. In some cases, having too many basophils can result from certain blood cancers.
Your doctor can determine whether your white blood cell count falls within an acceptable range. Your doctor may recommend that you get your blood work completed at every annual check-up.
Whether you scrape yourself during a fall or develop an infection from a wound, you can count on your basophils help to get you healthy again.
In addition to fighting parasitic infections, basophils play a role in:
Preventing blood clotting: Basophils contain heparin. This is a naturally occurring blood-thinning substance.
Mediating allergic reactions: In allergic reactions, the immune system is exposed to an allergen. Basophils release histamine during allergic reactions. Basophils are also thought to play a role in causing the body to produce the antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
This antibody then binds to basophils and a similar type of cell called mast cells. These cells release substances such as histamines and serotonin. They mediate the inflammatory response in the area of your body that was exposed to the allergen.
Basophils account for less than three percent of your white blood cells. You should have 0 to 300 basophils per microliter of blood. Keep in mind that blood test normal ranges can vary from lab to lab.
Blood testing is the only way to discover whether your basophils are abnormal. There typically aren’t any exact symptoms tied to an abnormal level, and doctors rarely order a test just for a basophil count.
Blood tests are usually performed during a general wellness check or when investigating some other issue.