Basophils are a type of white blood cell (WBC) produced in the bone marrow and are released into the blood when needed. They are a type of granulocytes which are cells that ingest foreign cells such as bacteria, viruses and other parasites. They also play a key role in the body’s immune response producing histamine. Basophils also accumulate at sites of infection as part of the inflammatory response to help increase blood flow to the area of damage.
Basophils can respond incorrectly causing allergies, asthma and other inflammatory conditions.
Elevated basophils can be caused by many Inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and dermatitis. They can also be caused by a recent infection or a hormone imbalance such as hypothyroidism.
Low levels of basophils is called basopenia and can occur in people who have severe allergies, during pregnancy, hyperthyroidism, stress, and people taking corticosteroids. It can also occur during acute hypersensitivity reactions, and infections.