BSIP, GILLES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, GILLES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Red blood cells. Artwork showing red blood cells passing through a capillary. The cells are elastic and pliable, allowing them to fit into the extensive network of narrow capillaries that supply blood to all parts of the body. The capillary walls are only one cell thick, allowing rapid gas exchange. Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are biconcave, disc-shaped cells that transport oxygen from the lungs to body cells. They circulate around the body in the blood and also remove carbon dioxide to the lungs for exhalation. The red colour comes from the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin. Red blood cells are the most abundant cell in the blood and have no nucleus.
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