Abnormal red blood cell, illustration

Abnormal red blood cell, illustration

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Credit: HARVINDER SINGH/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Stomatocyte. Illustration of a stomatocyte, an abnormal red blood cell in hereditary stomatocytosis. This disease arises from a dominant genetic defect in red blood cell membranes. These cells leak sodium and potassium ions, lose their normal indentation on one side forming a mouth-like shape (stoma), and eventually burst. This results in haemolytic anaemia and sometimes clotting problems. There is no specific treatment, but blood transfusions may sometimes be required.

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