A degmacyte (a.k.a. "bite cell") is an abnormally shaped red blood cell with one or more semicircular portions removed from the cell margin.[1] These "bites" result from the removal of denatured hemoglobin by macrophages in the spleen.[2] Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, in which uncontrolled oxidative stress causes hemoglobin to denature and form Heinz bodies, is a common disorder that leads to the formation of bite cells. Bite cells can contain more than one "bite."

The "bites" in degmacytes are smaller than the missing red blood cell fragments seen in schistocytes.

Degmacytes usually appear smaller than a normal red blood cell due to the bites. The bites are usually shaped like a semi-circle, but may also be irregular.

Blister cell

Blister cells are the precursor of bite cells. In patients with G6PD deficiency, blister cells appear as red blood cells containing a peripherally located vacuole.[3]


Bite cells are primarily caused by G6PD deficiency and unstable hemoglobins probably from red-cell enzymopathies involving the pentose phosphate shunt.[3] People receiving large quantities of aromatic drugs or metabolites are more prone to have degmacytes. [4]


From Ancient Greek δῆγμα (dêgma): “to bite” + -cyte.


  1. Yoo, D; Lessin, LS (1992). "Drug-associated 'bite cell' Hemolytic anemia". The American Journal of Medicine. 92 (3): 243–8. doi:10.1016/0002-9343(92)90071-I. PMID 1546722.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-09-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Tkachuk, Douglas C.; Hirschmann, Jan V.; Wintrobe, Maxwell Myer (2007). Wintrobe's Atlas of Clinical Hematology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7817-7023-1.

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