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Basophilic is a technical term used by histologists. It describes the microscopic appearance of cells and tissues, as seen down the microscope, after a histological section has been stained with a basic dye. The most common such dye is haematoxylin.
Basophilic describes the appearance of structures seen in histological sections which take up basic dyes. The structures usually stained are those that contain nucleic acid such as the cell nucleus and ribosomes.
Basophils are cells that "love" the blue, acidophyllic dye hematoxylin, and usually show up deep blue under standard staining techniques (H&E). Specifically, this term refers to:
Different definitions will apply to basophilic:
Basophilic stains are acidic stains called base loving stains. Basophilic cells are base loving cells. Basophilic cells attract base dyes, such as hematoxylin; however, hematoxylin is referred to as an acidophilic stain.
Simplistically, acid pH stains (negative charge) are attracted to the base pH tissue(positive charge), so they are called basophilic stains. Eosinophils are dyed red by the basophilic stain, eosin. Basophils are dyed blue by the acidophyllic stain, hematoxylin.