When is a mouse basophil not a basophil?

James J. Lee, Michael P. McGarry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The identification and characterization of mouse basophils have historically been hampered by the extreme rarity of this cell type. Virtually no photomicrographs of hematologically stained (eg, Wright-Giemsa) examples of mouse basophils exist in the literature. However, 4 recent studies in the past 2 years have used flow cytometry and a defined set of cell-surface markers to identify and subsequently isolate mouse "basophils," including the publication of stained cytospin preparations of these cells. Surprisingly, a reevaluation of the data from all 4 of the studies revealed several issues of concern that suggest that the cells under study are not necessarily basophils. Nonetheless, we propose that these studies do provide the foundation for a reevaluation of the defining characteristics of a basophil and/or provide support for the provocative conclusion that anewpreviously overlooked leukocyte subtype has been identified. The purpose of this commentary is to revisit these previously published studies, highlight the relevant issues, and provide a different perspective in the hope of developing a consensus within the research community as to the true identity of the "basophils" described in these studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-861
Number of pages3
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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