JACKIE LEWIN, ROYAL FREE HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JACKIE LEWIN, ROYAL FREE HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph of a deformed red blood cell in sickle cell anaemia (drepanocytosis), a hereditary blood disease that affects dark skin people. Sickle cell disease is the production of abnormal haemoglobin (Hbs) in red blood cells. Hbs becomes insoluble when the blood is deprived of oxygen and precipitates, forming elongated crystals that distort the cell into the sickle shape. These deformed red cells are rapidly removed from the circulation, causing anaemia. There is no treatment. The surrounding cells are normal red cells which are degenerating due to age. Magnification: x1655 at 35mm size. Coloured pink.
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