Basophils: what is it?
Basophils are large granular leukocytes that are present in the blood in small numbers. They are responsible for the destruction of foreign agents in the human body. After formation, the basophils emerge from the vascular bed into the tissue. The duration of the existence of basophils is about 7 days; there is no reserve of them in the bone marrow.
Basophils produce histamine, as well as other substances that take part in blood coagulation processes, in particular, heparin. Basophils also transfer immunoglobulin E to the receptors.
In tissues, basophils are present in the form of mast cells, which are often called mast cells. There are many of them in the dermis, in the serous membranes, in the connective tissues that surround the small vessels. Basophils also perform other useful and necessary functions for the body. At a time when there is no need for them, the number of basophils is equal to 0-1%, but if the body begins to need them, then their level rises significantly.
- There can be no low level of basophils
- Basophil functions
- Are Basophiles Friends or Foes?
- Signs of an anaphylactic reaction
There can be no low level of basophils
Normally, the level of basophils in the blood of an adult is 0-1%. However, when a number of conditions occur, for example, with the development of an allergic reaction, the concentration of basophils increases sharply.
In children, the level of basophils also always remains at a stable level, regardless of the age of the child. On average, these indicators are equal to 0.5%, and in newborns they may be absent altogether in the analyzes. Sometimes in an infant, the level of basophils can change several times even during one day, increasing during crying, with increased anxiety, with the introduction of complementary foods, with an increase in body temperature, etc. Therefore, the results should be evaluated by their absolute value. Indicator basophils must remain in the range of from 0 to 0,09H10 9 / L (0.09 Giga / liter).
A wide variety of conditions can lead to an increase in the level of basophils in the blood, from taking certain medications to an inflammatory reaction.
Possible reasons for an increase in basophils:
- Hypersensitivity reactions.
- Diseases of the blood: hemophilia, anemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, erythremia.
- Viral diseases such as flu or chickenpox.
- Iron-deficiency anemia.
- Ulcerative colitis.
- The presence in the body of a malignant tumor growing from epithelial tissue.
So, if the level of basophils is increased in the general blood test, then this may indicate an infection of the body, which gives an inflammatory response. In addition, allergens are also capable of causing a spike in basophils. And sometimes it is very violent, and a person develops anaphylactic shock at this time. In this case, the victim needs emergency medical assistance, or he will die.
Basophils are carriers of many substances that the body needs. They are involved in the transport of stimulant factors, which are aimed at producing compliments, immunoglobulin E, cytokines. These cells are responsible for immediate reactions, they are involved in the development of anaphylactic shock. In just a few seconds, a person may need emergency medical attention.
Basophils are responsible for the production of serotonin, heparin, histamine, proteolytic enzymes, prostaglandins and other biologically active substances. When pathogens enter the body, basophils quickly go to the right place and force all of the above substances to leave their membranes and "save" the human body (capillary expansion, tissue regeneration, elimination of inflammation, etc.).
Basophils are responsible for the production of heparin, which prevents blood clotting and blood clots.
Are Basophiles Friends or Foes?
Basophils on their surfaces have areas that can bind not only immunoglobulins E, but also other, related substances. These sites are called high affinity receptors. They have the ability to attract antibodies to themselves that circulate in the blood. These antibodies are able to quickly "adhere" to basophils and firmly fix on them. Eosinophils have the same receptors, so they can always be found in large quantities in those places where a hypersensitivity reaction occurs.
If we consider this process in the form of a diagram, then it will look like this:
- The antibodies circulating in the blood are looking for basophils. When they find the cells that suit them, they attach to them and continue their journey in search of the antigens they need.
- Antigens that have entered the body are transferred to the antibodies awaiting them.
- They react with each other and can stick together. As a result, lgE aggregates are formed.
- Receptors respond to these couplings by releasing large numbers of basophils and mast cells, which trigger the production of substances responsible for the immediate response.
At one point, histamine, serotonin and heparin are released from the basophils, which promotes vasodilation at the site of inflammation. They become permeable, blood arrives at the site of the "catastrophe", fluid begins to accumulate in the tissues, and edema forms. In this case, the basophils are not destroyed, they retain the ability to carry out their functions.
This reaction of the body, which is carried out with the help of basophils, can both protect the body and attract other immune cells to the site of inflammation.
They begin to pull together there:
- Neutrophils, which have phagocytic properties.
- Macrophages and monocytes, which destroy pathogens foreign to the body,
- Lymphocytes, which destroy antibodies or initiate their production.
However, such a violent reaction of the body is sometimes expressed not only in a slight edema, but in anaphylactic shock. After the action of serotonin and histamine ends (they are not able to "work" for a long time), the body continues to fight the infection using other mechanisms (due to cytokines, leukotrienes and other substances).
Signs of an anaphylactic reaction
An allergic reaction has the following manifestations:
- Anaphylactic shock, which is the most severe expression of allergies. In this case, a person loses consciousness, his blood pressure drops sharply. The victim requires emergency medical attention.
- Asphyxiation as seen in asthmatic patients.
- Allergic rhinitis, which is expressed by coughing and mucus from the nose.
- Skin rashes. The person develops hives.
Anaphylactic shock develops faster than other reactions, it forms in just a few seconds. This can happen after an insect bite, after the administration of drugs and not only. This condition poses a direct threat to life. The subsequent anaphylactic reaction will be stronger than the previous one, since antibodies are already circulating in the blood. It can be stopped by administering adrenaline or glucocorticoids.
The author of the article: Shutov Maxim Evgenievich | Hematologist
Education: In 2013 he graduated from the Kursk State Medical University and received a diploma "General Medicine". After 2 years, completed residency in the specialty "Oncology". In 2016 completed postgraduate studies at the National Medical and Surgical Center named after N. I. Pirogov.