Red blood cell

Red blood cells (RBCs), also referred to as red cells,[1] red blood corpuscles (in humans or other animals not having nucleus in red blood cells), haematids, erythroid cells or erythrocytes (from Greek erythros for "red" and kytos for "hollow vessel", with -cyte translated as "cell" in modern usage), are the most common type of blood cell and the vertebrate's principal means of delivering oxygen (O2) to the body tissues—via blood flow through the circulatory system.[2] RBCs take up oxygen in the lungs, or in fish the gills, and release it into tissues while squeezing through the body's capillaries.

Red blood cell
Scanning electron micrograph of human red blood cells (ca. 6–8 μm in diameter)
FunctionOxygen transport
Anatomical terms of microanatomy

The cytoplasm of a red blood cell is rich in hemoglobin, an iron-containing biomolecule that can bind oxygen and is responsible for the red color of the cells and the blood. Each human red blood cell contains approximately 270 million hemoglobin molecules.[3] The cell membrane is composed of proteins and lipids, and this structure provides properties essential for physiological cell function such as deformability and stability of the blood cell while traversing the circulatory system and specifically the capillary network.

In humans, mature red blood cells are flexible biconcave disks. They lack a cell nucleus and organelles, to accommodate maximum space for hemoglobin; they can be viewed as sacks of hemoglobin, with a plasma membrane as the sack. Approximately 2.4 million new erythrocytes are produced per second in human adults.[4] 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 60 seconds (one minute).[5] Approximately 84% of the cells in the human body are 20–30 trillion red blood cells.[6][7][8] Nearly half of the blood's volume (40% to 45%) is red blood cells.

Packed red blood cells (pRBC) are red blood cells that have been donated, processed, and stored in a blood bank for blood transfusion.

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