According to Santa Barbara City College, red blood cells' biconcave shape gives them a vastly greater surface area than a spherical cell of similar volume, which allows them to absorb oxygen more efficiently. Red blood cells achieve this shape by losing their nucleus and many other organelles during development. Red blood cells can neither reproduce nor replenish cellular machinery, and they die off in large numbers over time.
Because of their inability to reproduce themselves, red blood cells, or erythrocytes, must be produced by stem cells, according to Santa Barbara City College. These stem cells are located in bone marrow and are relatively undifferentiated. Their only role is to reproduce cells with very different properties from themselves. The same stem cells in bone marrow form all the blood cells, including the white blood cells and platelets. They produce more red blood cells than any other type by far, however, and red blood cells are the most numerous single type of cell in the body at any one time. The stem cells create red blood cells in response to a hormone called erythropoetin, which is produced by the kidneys when they sense a drop in blood oxygen. Increased levels increase the oxygen levels in the blood, causing the kidneys to release less of the hormone.Learn More
Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in the body and take away carbon dioxide. They are also called erythrocytes. They get their red color from a pigment called hemoglobin, and it is the hemoglobin that actually carries the oxygen and carbon dioxide.Full Answer >
Red blood cells have no nucleus, because most of their bulk is made up of hemoglobin, a compound that carries gases, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. In fact, about a third of a red blood cell is dedicated to hemoglobin alone, so no room remains for a nucleus or many of the structures that other cells have.Full Answer >
According to Springfield Technical Community College, the primary role red blood cells play in the body is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the various body tissues. To carry out this task, the cells are filled with a substance called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is so important to red blood cells that its molecules comprise one-third of the cell’s volume.Full Answer >
According to the Mayo Clinic, enlarged red blood cells, or macrocytosis, is a non-specific medical condition that has a number of different causes. Among the most common are vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, alcoholism, hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) and liver disease. Other causes include increased red blood cell production secondary to acute blood loss or the side-effects of medications such as those used to treat cancer.Full Answer >