It has been known for a long time that a basic staining substance is present in certain erythrocytes. By appropriate staining methods, this can be demonstrated as basophilic stippling, polychromatophilia or reticulation of these cells.
Polychromatophilia appears as a diffuse double staining of the red cells; stippling shows as small deep blue granules. The reticulation—demonstrated best by supravital stains, such as brilliant cresyl blue—appears as a delicate network in various forms.
It is probable in the light of modern researches that polychromatophilia, basophilic stippling and reticulation are merely different manifestations of the same process. This deduction, first made by Hawes,1 was confirmed by Schilling-Torgau.2
It is now quite generally believed that these basophilic forms are young (or immature) erythrocytes. The grounds for this belief are thus summarized by Key.3
In the circulating blood of normal adult humans, no polychromatophilia or punctate basophilia and not over
FRIEDLANDER A, WIEDEMER C. BASOPHILIC AGGREGATION IN THE NEW-BORN. Am J Dis Child. 1925;30(6):804-809. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1925.01920180064006