CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Echinocytes in haemolytic anaemia. Light micrograph of abnormal red blood cells known as echinocytes. This name refers to the "sea-urchin shape" that these cells assume, in which the rounded surface develops spikes (a crenated edge). Red blood cells are normally smooth with a biconcave surface. Echinocytes form due to plasmolysis when the cells are placed in a hypertonic solution and the protoplasm shrinks as a result of osmosis. Echinocytes may form in other medical disorders, such as chronic kidney (renal) failure which upsets the osmotic balance of the blood.
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