Q:

What do red blood cells do in a hypertonic solution?

A:

Quick Answer

When a red blood cell is placed in a hypertonic solution, it shrinks as water is drawn out of the cell and into the surrounding solution. If the same blood cell is placed in a hypotonic solution, the blood cell grows in size. Blood cells in isotonic solutions do not shrink or swell.

Know More

Full Answer

The reason that blood cells change size when placed in solution with different salt concentration is due to the process of osmosis. Osmosis causes solutions with high salt concentrations to draw the water out of areas with low salt concentration.

There are a few exceptions to this phenomenon. Blood cells may draw water and burst when placed in a hypertonic solution under a few special occasions. Some diseases effect the structural integrity of blood cells. Additionally, when human blood cells are exposed to near freezing temperatures, they may draw water and burst.

Osmosis is an important phenomenon for living systems. The amount of salt in a given solution exhibits a tendency to diffuse through the environment, eventually resulting in equilibrium. In addition to blood cells, kidneys work by using osmotic principles. Kidneys filter an animal’s blood to remove excess salt and balance the amount of water in the animal.

Learn more about Biology

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do you find out if you have elevated red blood cells?

    A:

    An elevated RBC level is diagnosed with a test called the RBC count, explains MedlinePlus. The test determines how many red blood cells are present in a sample of blood.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    What do animal cells have that plant cells don't?

    A:

    Animal cells contain structures such as lysosomes and centrioles that plant cells do not. Animal cells are also generally smaller and have more variety in shape than do plant cells.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What stimulates red blood cell production?

    A:

    HowStuffWorks explains that the hormone erythropoietin stimulates the production of red blood cells. The kidneys produce up to 90 percent of the erythropoietin in the human body, according to HowStuffWorks, and virtually any stimulus that causes a reduction in oxygen, such as lung disease, stimulates the kidneys to produce and secrete erythropoietin. Eventually, the erythropoietin reaches the blood marrow, where new red blood cells are created, according to the Merck Manual for Home Health.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are red blood cells biconcave?

    A:

    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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore