Healthy and crenated red blood cells, SEM

Healthy and crenated red blood cells, SEM

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Red blood cells. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a normal healthy red blood cell (red) and a crenated red blood cell (white). Crenation is caused by dehydration, which distorts the cell. The main function of red blood cells (erythrocytes) is to distribute oxygen to body tissues, and to carry waste carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Crenation leads to a severe reduction in their ability to carry out this function. Magnification: x6200 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

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