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Crenated red blood cells. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of crenated (spiked) human red blood cells, known as echinocytes. Red blood cells are usually biconcave, however these cells have been exposed to a concentrated solution, causing them to shrink. This osmotic shrinkage causes the change of shape. The main function of red blood cells is to distribute oxygen to body tissues and to carry waste carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Magnification: x12,000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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