Red Blood Cells

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Red blood cell
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Human red blood cells (6-8μm)
Red blood cells (also referred to as erythrocytes) are the most common type of blood cell and the vertebrateorganism's principal means of delivering oxygen (O2) to the body tissues via the blood flow through thecirculatory system. They take up oxygen in the lungs or gills and release it while squeezing through the body'scapillaries.

These cells' cytoplasm is rich in hemoglobin, an iron-containing biomolecule that can bind oxygen and is responsible for the blood's red color.

In humans, mature red blood cells are flexible biconcave disks that lack a cell nucleus and most organelles. 2.4 million new erythrocytes are produced per second.[1] 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. Approximately a quarter of the cells in the human body are red blood cells.[2][3]

Red blood cells are also known as RBCs, red blood corpuscles (an archaic term), haematids, erythroid cells or erythrocytes 

A typical human erythrocyte has a disk diameter of 6–8 µm and a thickness of 2 µm, being much smaller than most other human cells. These cells have a volume of about 90 fL with a surface of about 136 μm2, and can swell up to a sphere shape containing 150 fL, without membrane distension.

Adult humans have roughly 2–3 × 1013 (20-30 trillion) red blood cells at any given time, comprising approximately one quarter of the total human body cell number (women have about 4 to 5 million erythrocytes per microliter (cubic millimeter) of blood and men about 5 to 6 million; people living at high altitudes with low oxygen tension will have more). Red blood cells are thus much more common than the other blood particles: there are about 4,000–11,000 white blood cells and about 150,000–400,000 platelets in each microliter of human blood.

Human red blood cells take on average 20 seconds to complete one cycle of circulation.[2][3][25] As red blood cells contain no nucleus, protein biosynthesis is currently assumed to be absent in these cells, although a recent study indicates the presence of all the necessary biomachinery in human red blood cells for protein biosynthesis.[21]

The blood's red color is due to the spectral properties of the hemic iron ions in hemoglobin. Each human red blood cell contains approximately 270 million of these hemoglobin biomolecules, each carrying four heme groups; hemoglobin comprises about a third of the total cell volume. This protein is responsible for the transport of more than 98% of the oxygen (the remaining oxygen is carried dissolved in the blood plasma). The red blood cells of an average adult human male store collectively about 2.5 grams of iron, representing about 65% of the total iron contained in the body.

Life cycle

Human erythrocytes are produced through a process named erythropoiesis, developing from committed stem cells to mature erythrocytes in about 7 days. When matured, these cells live in blood circulation for about 100 to 120 days. At the end of their lifespan, they become senescent, and are removed from circulation.


Erythropoiesis is the development process in which new erythrocytes are produced, through which each cell matures in about 7 days. Through this process erythrocytes are continuously produced in the red bone marrow of large bones, at a rate of about 2 million per second in a healthy adult. (In theembryo, the liver is the main site of red blood cell production.) The production can be stimulated by the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), synthesised by the kidney. Just before and after leaving the bone marrow, the developing cells are known as reticulocytes; these comprise about 1% of circulating red blood cells.

[edit]Functional lifetime

This phase lasts about 100–120 days, during which the erythrocytes are continually moving...
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