Saturday, March 8, 2014

Red Blood Cell Morphology

Red Blood Cells/Erythrocytes (RBCs)

Background Information of Red Blood Cells (Erythrocytes)

Red blood cells/erythrocytes make up approximately a quarter of the cells in the human body and are the most indispensable member in the blood system responsible in delivering oxygen throughout the body tissues via the blood  circulatory system. 
Approximately 2.4 million new erythrocytes are produced per second.The cells develop in the bone marrow and circulate for about 100–120 days in the body before their components are recycled by macrophages. Each circulation takes about 20 seconds. 
Matured RBCs do not have a cell nucleus and other organelles in order to accommodate maximum space for haemoglobin, and also giving them an oval biconcave disk-shape to be flexible enough for them to squeeze through capillaries bringing along oxygen molecules to be transported to the target body tissues. Their cytoplasm is rich in hemoglobin an iron-containing biomolecule that can bind oxygen and is responsible for the red color of the cells. The cell membrane is composed of proteins and lipids, and this structure provides properties essential for physiological cell function such as deformability and stability while traversing the circulatory system and specifically the capillary network.

Cellular Description

RBCs are the most common cells in the peripheral blood system and their characteristics (red color) make them easily distinguishable. Normal RBCs should have a centre of pallor that is 1/3 of the size of the overall RBC. There should not be any organelles or nucleus. It is only slightly smaller than a small lymphocyte as previously mentioned, and significantly smaller compared to the other WBCs (neutrophils/basophils/eosinophils).

Red Blood Cells Abnormality

There are a range of RBCs that can be classified into different names according to sizes and shapes which will be talked about in the next few posts

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