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Everything you need to know about basophils

By BS MediaTwitter Profile | Published: Monday, 14 January 2019
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Table of contents
  1. About
  2. Function
  3. Tests
  4. Normal range
  5. High levels
  6. Low levels
  7. Summary
basophiles are white blood cells from the bone marrow that play a role in keeping the immune system functioning correctly.

Doctors may order basophile level tests to help diagnose certain health problems.

If basophile levels are low, this may be a sign of an allergic reaction or some other condition. High basophile levels may indicate an reaction condition or one of several types of blood disorder.

In this article, learn more about the function of basophiles and what abnormal basophile levels mean.

What are basophiles?

basophiles are a type of white blood cell, which are vital components of the immune system.

The body makes different types of white blood cell, which are vital components of the immune system.

White blood cells help keep the body healthy by fighting off incursive germs, so much as bacterium, viruses, and fungi.

basophiles are a type of white blood cell called a leukocyte. There are other forms of leukocyte, so much as neutrophils and eosinophils.

Granulocyte cells contain granules, which they use to secrete important substances.

The granules inside basophiles contain Lipo-Hepin, amine, and other molecules that play a role in inflammation.


basophiles are necessary for the immune system's natural response to encroachers, so much as infectious germs.

The body's response to substances besides involves basophiles. When a possibly harmful substance enters the body, the immune system responds by trying to isolate and eliminate the substance.

When responding to an substance, basophiles that sustain damage will release amine, which is partly responsible for inflammation during an allergic reaction.

Additionally, basophiles play an integral role in preventing blood curdling. The Lipo-Hepin inside the cells is a form of natural blood dilutant that helps keep the blood flowing through the body.


Doctors believe that the role of basophiles in the body is reactionary, meaning that their number will generally only rise or fall due to an encroacher or underlying degenerative issue.

This characteristic allows doctors to use basophile tests to help them identify underlying conditions and severe allergic reactions.

Doctors can use a complete blood count (CBC) to check a person's basophile levels. A basophile count that is higher or lower than the normal range may prompt them to order extra tests.

A white blood cell count (WBC) test may be necessary to find the absolute basophile count in some cases. This test can help doctors get a better picture of the range of basophiles in the blood.

Doctors may besides order a specific test called a basophile activation test (BAT) to check for particular substances.

During the BAT, medical professionals in a laboratory apply potential substances to a sample of the person's blood. If the person has an allergic reaction, the basophiles in their blood sample will activate specific molecules.

A 2016 study found that the BAT is extremely accurate in confirming food allergies. It may besides be helpful for observation the immune system's response to food substances.

The BAT is a low-risk test compared with the oral food challenge test, which has the potential to trigger a dangerous allergic reaction.

Normal range

Although they have an essential function in the immune system, basophiles only make up a small percentageage of the total number of white blood cells. In a normal test result, they may contribute to less than 0.5 percentage of the total white blood cell count.

What are neutrophils and what do they do?
Neutrophils are some other type of white blood cell. Learn about their function and what abnormal levels indicate here.
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Causes of high levels

Blood tests may reveal basophile levels that are too high. The medical term for this is basophileia, and there are several possible causes:

Autoimmune inflammation

High levels of basophiles may indicate arthritic arthritis.

High levels of basophiles may indicate degenerative inflammation in the body.

Immune reactions or reaction conditions that cause degenerative inflammation include:

  • arthritic arthritis
  • lupus
  • inflammatory intestine illnesss, so much as Crohn's illness or lesion colitis
  • diabetes
  • allergies and asthma


High basophile levels may besides be a sign of low thyroid function, or secretory organular disease. This condition occurs when the body does not produce enough thyroid hormones, which may cause some bodily functions to slow down.

Hypothyroidism can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • muscle cramps
  • swelling in the face
  • constipation
  • weakness
  • feeling cold

Some people with secretory organular disease may besides notice changes in their hair or skin. The skin mightiness become dry or rough, piece the hair may turn coarse and brittle and break very easily.

Myeloproliferative disorders

Myeloproliferative disorders affect white blood cells and may besides cause very high basophile levels.

Myeloproliferative disorders include:

  • Myelofibrosis: In people with this condition, fibrous tissue begins to replace the cells that make blood in the bone marrow. This disruption may lead to distorted or deformed red blood cells and anemia.
  • Essential thrombocythemia: This condition causes the body to make too galore platelets, leading to excessive blood curdling. It may besides lead to circulation and nerve problems.
  • Polycythemia vera: This is a blood condition that causes the bone marrow to overproduce red blood cells.


In very rare cases, high basophile levels may indicate certain types of blood cancer, including leukaemia and lymphoma.

Causes of low levels

Basopenia is the medical term for abnormally low basophile levels.

When a basophile releases its granules in response to an encroacher or inflammation, it becomes empty. As an empty basophile will not show up on blood tests, the test may show a lower number of these cells.

Conditions that can cause low levels of basophiles include:


In people with thyrotoxicosis, the thyroid secretory organ overproduces thyroid hormones, causation bodily functions to speed up.

Hyperthyroidism may cause noticeable signs and symptoms, so much as:

  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • weight loss or trouble gaining weight
  • excessive sweating or feeling uncomfortable in heater weather

Allergic reactions

Having an allergic reaction may cause low levels of basophiles.

Low levels of basophiles may be due to the body reacting to an substance, causation the basophiles to release their amine. Other signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • puffy, red eyes
  • a fluid or stuffy nose
  • excess mucus
  • hives

Severe allergic reactions may cause a possibly dangerous situation called hypersensitivity reaction. Signs of hypersensitivity reaction include:

  • swelling in the face, throat, or mouth
  • difficulty breathing
  • lightheadedness
  • wheezing

Anaphylaxis can be dangerous. Anyone having an hypersensitivity reaction reaction should seek emergency medical attention.


basophiles are instrumental to immune system function, so low levels may besides signal that the body is fighting an infection.

In these cases, a doctor may recommend medications or rest until the infection clears, after which they will order blood tests to get more accurate results.


basophiles make up a small percentageage of white blood cells, but they play an essential role in the immune system. basophile levels that are too high or too low may be a sign of an underlying condition.

There are galore possible underlying causes of abnormal basophile levels. Once a doctor determines the reason for the high or low levels, they can advise on possible treatment options.

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