Heinz Inclusion Bodies, Blood


Heinz bodies are formed by damage to the Hemoglobin component molecules, usually through oxidations, which causes the damaged molecules to precipitate and damage the cell membrane. Damaged cells are attacked by macrophages in the spleen, where the precipitate and damaged membrane is removed, leading to characteristic “bite cells”. The denaturing process is irreversible and the continual elimination of damaged cells leads to anemia.


There are several pathways leading to Haemoglobin damage. In a-Thalassemia the Haemoglobin H molecules, being composed of four beta chains, are unstable and become damaged with time. G6PD (Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase) deficiency brought on by administration of oxidant drugs (e.g., primaquine) also can result in Heinz bodies.

Sample Type, Quantity & Conditions

1 ml EDTA Whole Blood Room Temperature

Special Precautions

Usually invisible with Wright’s stain.

Normal Range


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