What are basophils?

By William Aird

  • A subset of granulocytes that develop from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow and constitute less than 1% of circulating leukocytes in the peripheral blood.
  • Originally described by Paul Erlich in 1879.
  • Increase in number and are recruited to sites of inflammation especially during immune responses against allergens or parasites.
  • Closely related to mast cells as both cell types express the high-affinity receptor for IgE and a similar set of effector molecules, including histamine.

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