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An affinity for basic dyes.
An increase in the number of basophils in the circulating blood.
Stippling of the red cells with basic staining granules, representing a degenerative condition as seen in severe anemia, leukemia, malaria, lead poisoning, and other toxic states.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the ability of cell structures to be stained by basic dyes (pyronine, methylene blue, methylene azure, and others). Basophilia is caused by the acid components of the cell, chiefly ribonucleic acid (RNA). An elevated basophilia is found in cells which are actively synthesizing proteins and for this reason contain a great deal of RNA. Examples of such cells would be growing cells and those undergoing division (for example, embryonic and tumorous cells and cells of the hematopoietic and regenerating tissues), cells forming a protein secretion (for example, the cells of the pancreas or liver), and cells which are intensively replacing their own protein (for example, nerve cells).

From the change in basophilia, it is often possible to judge the change in the intensity of protein biosynthesis in the cell. More precise indicators of this process are determined by the autoradiographic and cytophotometric methods. Characteristic basophilia or acidophiu’a of cell structures is used for distinguishing blood cells, for analyzing cells from the anterior lobe of the pituitary body and the insular tissue of the pancreas, and so forth.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.