Howell Jolly Bodies vs Heinz bodies

Howell Jolly Bodies vs Heinz bodies (Differences)

If you’re confused between Howell Jolly Bodies and Heinz body then this post (Howell Jolly Bodies vs Heinz bodies) will help you to understand what’s the difference between Howell-Jolly bodies and Heinz bodies? Now lets we move to our topic.

What are Howell Jolly Bodies?

howell jolly bodies image

A Howell-Jolly body is a cytopathological finding of basophilic nuclear debris (DNA clusters) in circulating erythrocytes. During maturation in the bone marrow, late erythroblasts normally shed their nuclei; But, in some cases, a small piece of DNA remains. Its presence usually means a damaged or absent spleen, because a healthy spleen would normally filter these types of red blood cells.

What are Heinz bodies?

Heinz bodies and bit cell

Heinz bodies are clumps of damaged haemoglobin attached to red blood cells. Haemoglobin is an important protein made up of an iron-containing molecule called heme and a protein called globin. Haemoglobin carries oxygen throughout your body.

It is not entirely clear how Heinz bodies are formed, but red blood cells have changes in their structure. With these changes, heme cannot bind properly with globin, and haemoglobin becomes unstable and damaged.

These damaged haemoglobins adhere to red blood cells, which become stiff rather than soft and break down in the spleen. Your spleen removes the Heinz bodies, leaving your blood cells with a missing section. They are called bite cells. ‌

Your body will break down these damaged blood cells. If this happens faster than your body can replace them, you can develop anaemia. This is called Heinz body hemolytic anaemia or Heinz body anaemia.

Reference: webmd

Howell Jolly Bodies vs Heinz bodies

Now here is the short brief of Howell Jolly Bodies vs Heinz bodies images that are already mentioned above. See this below table


Howell jolly bodies Heinz bodies
  • Nuclear (basophilic) inclusions within red blood cells
  • Normally: During maturation, after leaving the bone marrow, the erythroblast nuclei are expelled into the spleen.
  • Although, in patients, without a spleen (asplenia) secondary to (i.e. surgery, radiation, or sickle cell anaemia) they will retain these remnants
  • Inclusions within red blood cells are composed of denatured haemoglobin.
  • They are formed as a result of oxidative damage or mutations (i.e., G6PD)
  • Macrophages in the spleen remove denatured haemoglobin, giving rise to the classic “bite cells”



  1. WebMD
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Hutchison HE, Ferguson-Smith MA. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HOWELL-JOLLY BODIES IN RED CELL PRECURSORS. Journal of Clinical Pathology. 1959;12(5):451-453.


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