24 Howell-Jolly Bodies

Michelle To and Valentin Villatoro


Under Wright/Romanowksy stains, Howell-Jolly Bodies appear as dark blue/purple round inclusions located at the periphery of the RBC. They usually present as a single inclusion inside the cell. Howell-Jolly Bodies are also visible under supravital stains.1-4


Inclusion composition:2,3

Nuclear fragments/remnants made up of DNA 1-4


Associated Disease/Clinical States:


Megaloblastic Anemia

Myelodysplastic Syndrome



1. Landis-Piwowar K, Landis J, Keila P. The complete blood count and peripheral blood smear evaluation. In: Clinical laboratory hematology. 3rd ed. New Jersey:  Pearson; 2015. p. 154-77.

2. Jones KW. Evaluation of cell morphology and introduction to platelet and white blood cell morphology.  In: Clinical hematology and fundamentals of hemostasis. 5th ed. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company; 2009. p. 93-116.

3. Fritsma GA. Bone marrow examination. In: Rodak’s hematology clinical applications and principles.  5th ed. St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders; 2015. p. 253-68.

4. Ford J. Red blood cell morphology. Int J Lab Hematol [Internet]. 2013 Mar 9 [cited 2018 Jul 12];35(3):351–7. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/ijlh.12082


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Howell-Jolly Bodies Copyright © 2019 by Michelle To and Valentin Villatoro is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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