OMIKRON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY OMIKRON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sickle cell anaemia. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of red blood cells in sickle cell anaemia (drepanocytosis). Here, normally rounded red blood cells have become curved, elongated sickle-shaped cells. Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disease largely affecting black people, in which the red blood cells contain abnormal haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment. In areas of deoxygenated blood the haemoglobin distorts the red blood cells into a sickle shape, causing bone ache and organ damage. The fragile sickle cells are easily destroyed in the bloodstream. No cure is yet known for this disease. Magnification unknown.
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