Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. 
Basophils are the least common of the granulocytes, representing about 0.01% to 0.3% of circulating leukocytes (white blood cells). They contain large cytoplasmic granules which obscure the cell nucleus under the microscope. However, when unstained, the nucleus is visible and it usually has 2 lobes. The mast cell, a cell in tissues, has many similar characteristics. For example, both cell types store histamine, a chemical that is secreted by the cells when stimulated in certain ways (histamine causes some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction). Like all circulating granulocytes, basophils can be recruited out of the blood into a tissue when needed.
When activated, basophils degranulate to release histamine, proteoglycans (e.g. heparin and chondroitin), and proteolytic enzymes (e.g. elastase and lysophospholipase). They also secrete lipid mediators like leukotrienes, and several cytokines. Histamine and proteoglycans are pre-stored in the cell's granules while the other secreted substances are newly generated. Each of these substances contributes to inflammation. Recent evidence suggests that basophils are an important source of the cytokine, interleukin-4, perhaps more important than T cells. Interleukin-4 is considered one of the critical cytokines in the development of allergies and the production of IgE antibody by the immune system. There are other substances that can activate basophils to secrete which suggests that these cells have other roles in inflammation.
Basopenia (a low basophil count) is difficult to demonstrate as the normal basophil count is so low; it has been reported in association with autoimmune urticaria (a chronic itching condition). Basophilia is also uncommon but may be seen in some forms of leukaemia or lymphoma.
- ↑ Janeway CA, Jr.; et al. (2001). Immunobiology (5th ed. ed.). Garland Publishing. (electronic full text via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-8153-3642-X.
bs:Bazofilni granulociti ca:Basòfil de:Basophiler Granulozyt dv:ބޭސަފިލް it:Granulocita basofilo he:באזופיל lt:Bazofilas nl:Basofiele granulocyt sv:Basofil granulocyt uk:Базофіли