Saturday, July 15, 2017


Red blood cells

Also known as erythrocytes, is the most common type of blood cell and the principal means of oxygen transport in the body.

The normal biconcave shape is the essential feature of its biological function.
Through various stages of development and maturation, RBC loses its nucleus and most organelles in order to accommodate maximum space for haemoglobin.
This feature of RBC is critically affected by genetic and acquired pathological conditions.

Poikilocytosis is the term used to denote the variation in the shape of red blood cells.
Let's look at the major abnormalities in the shape of RBCs and the conditions in which they are seen:

1. Spherocyte - hereditary spherocytosis, autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, ABO haemolytic disease of the new born

2. Schistocyte - thalassemia, hereditary elliptocytosis, megaloblastic anaemia, iron deficiency anaemia and severe burns

3. Irregular contracted red cells - drug and chemical induced haemolytic anaemia, unstable haemoglobinopathies

4. Target cell (a type of leptocytosis)- iron deficiency anaemia, thalassemia, chronic liver disease and after splenectomy

5. Sickle cell (drepanocyte)- sickle cell anaemia

6. Tear drop cell - myelofibrosis, underlying marrow infiltrate

7. Crenated red cell - in blood films due to alkaline pH, presence of traces of fatty sustances on the slides or film allowed to stand over night

8. Acanthocyte - post splenectomy, chronic liver disease, Abetalipoproteinemia, McLeod blood group phenotype

9. Burr cell - uremia, liver disease, artifact

10. Stomatocyte - hereditary stomatocytosis, chronic alcoholism

11. Ovalocyte - hereditary ovalocytosis, hereditary elliptocytosis, severe iron deficiency anaemia

The diagram given represents the corresponding cells

Credits to: Shivani Mangalgi.

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