Erythrocyte Inclusions (Online CE Course)

(based on 1,458 customer ratings)

Marjorie A. Spahn, MT (ASCP); Marybeth Fannon, MA, MT (ASCP)
Reviewer: Rory Huschka, M.Ed., MT(ASCP)

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This course describes and richly illustrates various erythrocyte inclusions, including basophilic stippling, Cabot rings, Pappenheimer bodies, siderotic granules, and Howell-Jolly bodies, making it productive for CE, exam reviewing, and cross training.

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Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 2 hour(s)
Approved through 10/31/2022
Approved through 9/1/2022


  • Identify erythrocyte inclusions that may be observed on a Wright or Wright-Giemsa stained peripheral blood smear.
  • Identify erythrocyte inclusions that require staining methods other than Wright or Wright-Giemsa stain to be visualized on a peripheral blood or bone marrow smear.
  • Discuss the composition and formation of various erythrocyte inclusions.
  • Identify diseases or disorders associated with various erythrocyte inclusions.

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(based on 1,458 customer ratings)

Course Outline

Click on the links below to preview selected pages from this course.
  • Introduction to erythrocyte inclusions
  • Characteristics of polychromatophilic red cells (Reticulocytes)
      • Reticulocytes
      • Normal Erythrocytes
      • Polychromatophilic Red Blood Cells (RBCs)
      • Polychromatophilic Cells, continued
      • Stress Reticulocytes
      • Which of the following statements characterize a reticulocyte?
      • While performing a peripheral blood smear review, you observe the cells indicated by the arrows on this Wright-Giemsa stained slide. How would you cla...
  • Characteristics of Basophilic Stippling
      • Basophilic Stippling
      • Example of Fine Basophilic Stippling
      • Coarse Basophilic Stippling
      • Coarse Basophilic Stippling, continued
      • What is the composition of the granules associated with basophilic stippling?
      • In which of the following disorders would you probably observe coarse basophilic stippling on a Wright-stained peripheral blood smear?
  • Characteristics of Howell-Jolly Bodies
      • Howell-Jolly Bodies
      • Howell-Jolly Body
      • Another Howell-Jolly Body
      • Howell-Jolly Body in Nucleated Red Cell
      • What is the composition of Howell-Jolly bodies?
      • If present, how many Howell-Jolly bodies are usually seen within a given erythrocyte?
      • In which of the following conditions would you expect to find Howell-Jolly bodies?
      • What abnormality is present in this slide?
  • Characteristics of Pappenheimer bodies and Siderotic granules
      • Pappenheimer Bodies
      • Pappenheimer Bodies, continued
      • Pappenheimer Bodies, continued
      • Basophilic Stippling contrasted with Pappenheimer Bodies
      • Howell-Jolly Bodies and Pappenheimer Bodies
      • Comparison of Erythrocyte Inclusions
      • Siderotic Granules
      • Siderocytes and Ringed Sideroblasts in Bone Marrow
      • Siderocyte
      • Sideroblast
      • Match the descriptions below with the erythrocyte inclusions from the drop down box that they describe. The descriptions refer to the appearance of th...
      • Which of the following is NOT present in normal bone marrow and would be associated with a disease or disorder?
      • The inclusions that are indicated by the arrows on this Wright-Giemsa stained peripheral blood smear are most likely Pappenheimer bodies.
      • The cell that is indicated by the arrow in this Prussian-blue stained bone marrow smear is a ringed sideroblast.
  • Characteristics of Cabot Rings
      • Cabot Rings
      • Cabot Rings, continued
      • Cabot Rings, continued
      • Which of the following statements best describes the appearance of Cabot rings?
      • In which of the following conditions might Cabot rings be observed in erythrocytes on a Wright-stained peripheral blood smear?
  • Characteristics of Heinz bodies
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of Instruction: Intermediate

Intended Audience: Medical laboratory personnel including medical laboratory scientists, medical technologists, medical laboratory technicians. Also appropriate for medical laboratory students, and pathology residents.

Course Description: This course identifies, describes, and illustrates red blood cell inclusions as they are observed on Wright or Wright-Giemsa-stained peripheral smears. Additional staining procedures that make possible or enhance identification of some erythrocyte inclusions are also discussed. Numerous practice and exam questions reinforce visual recognition skills.

Prerequisites: Skill in the use of the microscope, aseptic techniques, experience preparing and gram staining smears, and experience reading smears from cultures.

Author Credentials: This course was developed by Betty Smith MT (ASCP) and Jaimy Hill MT (ASCP), and was updated by Education Materials for Health Professionals, Inc., under the supervision of Marjorie Spahn MT(ASCP). It was reviewed and adapted for online use by Paul Fekete, M.D. fellow C.A.P.

Reviewer information: Rory Huschka, M. Ed., MT(ASCP), has over 20 years of combined experience as a medical technologist, technical supervisor, professor, and manager. He is a former Program Director of Clinical Laboratory Science and Medical Laboratory Technician Programs. He is currently a Program Director at MediaLab, Inc. Rory holds a BS degree in Medical Technology from North Dakota State University and a Master's degree in Educational Leadership.

About this Course: This revised course was originally part of a series of courses adapted for the web by MediaLab Inc. under license from Educational Materials for Health Professionals Inc. Dayton OH, 45420. Copyright EMHP Inc.

How to Subscribe
MLS & MLT Comprehensive CE Package
Includes 145 CE courses, most popular
$95Add to cart
Pick Your Courses
Up to 8 CE hours
$50Add to cart
Individual course$20Add to cart
Need multiple seats for your university or lab? Get a quote

polychromasia_erythrocyte course

Pappenheimer iron stain

q15 Cabot ring

ring sideroblast_best

q15 baso stippling

q15 HJ body

q15 pappenheimer