Normal and echinocyte red blood cells, SEM

Normal and echinocyte red blood cells, SEM

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Credit: EYE OF SCIENCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Normal and echinocyte red blood cells, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are biconcave, disc-shaped cells that transport oxygen from the lungs to body cells. They circulate in the blood and also remove carbon dioxide to the lungs for exhalation. Their red colour is due to the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin. Red blood cells, the most abundant cell in the blood, have no nucleus and are about 7 micrometres across. The cell at right is an echinocyte (also called a spur cell). This shape can be due to the staining or sample drying process, but can also be due to certain blood disorders. Magnification: x6700 when printed at 10 centimetres across.

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