Pappenheimer bodies, while visible on a Wright's stained smear, should be confirmed with an iron stain, such as Prussian blue stain. The image on the right is a Prussian blue stain that confirms the presence of Pappenheimer bodies. Wright stain does not stain the iron, but rather the protein matrix that contains the iron.
Pappenheimer bodies are seen in certain types of anemia that are characterized by an increase in the storage of iron, such as sideroblastic anemia and thalassemia. These inclusions are also seen in the peripheral blood following a splenectomy. In a healthy person with a normal spleen, Pappenheimer bodies are destroyed before the erythrocytes enter the peripheral circulation.