Updated: 10/26/2020

Pathologic RBC Forms

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Topic
Overview
 
Type Example Associated Pathology
Acanthocyte (spur cell)
 
  • Liver disease, abeta lipoproteinemia  
Basophilic stippling  
  • Lead poisoning
Bite cell  
  • G6PD deficiency
Elliptocyte  
  • Hereditary elliptocytosis
Macro-ovalocyte  
  • Megaloblastic anemia, marrow failure
Ringed sideroblasts  
  • Sideroblastic anemia
Schistocyte, helmet cell  
  • DIC, TTP/HUS, traumatic hemolysis
Schizont  
  • Malaria
Sickle cell  
  • Sickle cell anemia
Spherocyte  
  • Hereditary spherocytosis, autoimmune hemolysis
Teardrop cell  
  • A result of mechanical damage when RBC squeezes through fibrosis to exit bone marrow
Target cell  
  • Asplenia, liver disease, thalassemia, HbC disease
Heinz bodies  
  • Due to oxidation of hemoglobin sulfahydryl groups to disulfide bonds resulting in hemoglobin precipitation
  • Splenic macrophages remove precipitated hemoglobin resulting in bite cells
  • Associated with G6PD
Howell-Jolly bodies  
  • Basophilic nuclear remnants found in RBCs associated with functional hyposplenia or asplenia 

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