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Polychromatophilia refers to how blood cells look under a microscope when the cells are stained with special dyes. It means there is more staining with certain dyes than normal. The extra staining is due to too many immature red blood cells (RBCs) called reticulocytes. These cells have a blue-colored center.

Too many reticulocytes are the result of the bone marrow making more red blood cells than normal. This can be caused by certain conditions, such as hemolytic anemia.

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Elghetany MT, Banki K. Erythrocytic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 32.

Review Date: 2/4/2015
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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