Abnormal red blood cell, illustration

Abnormal red blood cell, illustration

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Credit: HARVINDER SINGH/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Spherocyte. Illustration of an abnormal red blood cell known as a spherocyte. Red blood cells with this appearance occur in hereditary spherocytosis (also known as Minkowski-Chauffard syndrome), a disorder of production of certain red blood cell structural proteins. This results in red blood cells forming spheres rather than normal bi-concave discs. This difference in shape makes the cells more prone to destruction. Spherocytes are also found in auto-immune haemolytic anaemia, and small spherocytes are sometimes seen in severe burn cases.

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