Red Blood Cells Essay

Red blood cell From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [pic] Human red blood cells (6-8? m) Red blood cells (also referred to as erythrocytes) are the most common type of blood cell and the vertebrateorganism’s principal means of delivering oxygen (O2) to the body tissues via the blood flow through thecirculatory system. They take up oxygen in the lungs or gills and release it while squeezing through the body’scapillaries. These cells’ cytoplasm is rich in hemoglobin, an iron-containing biomolecule that can bind oxygen and is responsible for the blood’s red color.

In humans, mature red blood cells are flexible biconcave disks that lack a cell nucleus and most organelles. 2. 4 million new erythrocytes are produced per second. [1] The cells develop in the bone marrow and circulate for about 100–120 days in the body before their components are recycled by macrophages. Each circulation takes about 20 seconds. Approximately a quarter of the cells in the human body are red blood cells. [2][3] Red blood cells are also known as RBCs, red blood corpuscles (an archaic term), haematids, erythroid cells or erythrocytes

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A typical human erythrocyte has a disk diameter of 6–8 µm and a thickness of 2 µm, being much smaller than most other human cells. These cells have a volume of about 90 fL with a surface of about 136 ? m2, and can swell up to a sphere shape containing 150 fL, without membrane distension. Adult humans have roughly 2–3 ? 1013 (20-30 trillion) red blood cells at any given time, comprising approximately one quarter of the total human body cell number (women have about 4 to 5 million erythrocytes per microliter (cubic millimeter) of blood and men about 5 to 6 million; people living at high altitudes with low oxygen tension will have more).

Red blood cells are thus much more common than the other blood particles: there are about 4,000–11,000 white blood cells and about 150,000–400,000 platelets in each microliter of human blood. Human red blood cells take on average 20 seconds to complete one cycle of circulation. [2][3][25] As red blood cells contain no nucleus, protein biosynthesis is currently assumed to be absent in these cells, although a recent study indicates the presence of all the necessary biomachinery in human red blood cells for protein biosynthesis. [21]

The blood’s red color is due to the spectral properties of the hemic iron ions in hemoglobin. Each human red blood cell contains approximately 270 million of these hemoglobin biomolecules, each carrying four heme groups; hemoglobin comprises about a third of the total cell volume. This protein is responsible for the transport of more than 98% of the oxygen (the remaining oxygen is carried dissolved in the blood plasma). The red blood cells of an average adult human male store collectively about 2. 5 grams of iron, representing about 65% of the total iron contained in the body. Life cycle

Human erythrocytes are produced through a process named erythropoiesis, developing from committed stem cells to mature erythrocytes in about 7 days. When matured, these cells live in blood circulation for about 100 to 120 days. At the end of their lifespan, they become senescent, and are removed from circulation. [edit]Erythropoiesis Erythropoiesis is the development process in which new erythrocytes are produced, through which each cell matures in about 7 days. Through this process erythrocytes are continuously produced in the red bone marrow of large bones, at a rate of about 2 million per second in a healthy adult. In theembryo, the liver is the main site of red blood cell production. ) The production can be stimulated by the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), synthesised by the kidney. Just before and after leaving the bone marrow, the developing cells are known as reticulocytes; these comprise about 1% of circulating red blood cells. [edit]Functional lifetime This phase lasts about 100–120 days, during which the erythrocytes are continually moving by the blood flow push (in arteries), pull (in veins) and squeezing through microvessels such as capillaries as they compress against each other in order to move.

Membrane composition The membrane of the red blood cell plays many roles that aid in regulating their surface deformability, flexibility, adhesion to other cells and immune recognition. These functions are highly dependent on its composition, which defines its properties. The red blood cell membrane is composed of 3 layers: the glycocalyx on the exterior, which is rich in carbohydrates; the lipid bilayer which contains many transmembrane proteins, besides its lipidic main constituents; and the membrane skeleton, a structural network of proteins located on the inner surface of the lipid bilayer.

In human erythrocytes, like in most mammal erythrocytes, half of the membrane mass is represented by proteins and the other half are lipids, namely phospholipids and cholesterol. [29] [edit]Membrane lipids [pic] [pic] The most common erythrocyte cell membrane lipids, schematically disposed as they are distributed on the bilayer. Relative abundances are not at scale. The erythrocyte cell membrane comprises a typical lipid bilayer, similar to what can be found in virtually all human cells. Simply put, this lipid bilayer is composed of cholesterol andphospholipids in equal proportions by weight.

The lipid composition is important as it defines many physical properties such as membrane permeability and fluidity. Additionally, the activity of many membrane proteins is regulated by interactions with lipids in the bilayer. Unlike cholesterol which is evenly distributed between the inner and outer leaflets, the 5 major phospholipids are asymmetrically disposed, as shown below: Outer monolayer ? Phosphatidylcholine (PC); ? Sphingomyelin (SM). Inner monolayer ? Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE); ? Phosphoinositol (PI) (small amounts). ? Phosphatidylserine (PS);

This asymmetric phospholipid distribution among the bilayer is the result of the function of several energy-dependent and energy-independent phospholipid transport proteins. Proteins called “Flippases” move phospholipids from the outer to the inner monolayer while others called “floppases” do the opposite operation, against a concentration gradient in an energy dependent manner. Additionally, there are also “scramblase” proteins that move phospholipids in both directions at the same time, down their concentration gradients in an energy independent manner.

There is still considerable debate ongoing regarding the identity of these membrane maintenance proteins in the red cell membrane. The maintenance of an asymmetric phospholipid distribution in the bilayer (such as an exclusive localization of PS and PIs in the inner monolayer) is critical for the cell integrity and function due to several reasons: ? Macrophages recognize and phagocytose red cells that expose PS at their outer surface. Thus the confinement of PS in the inner monolayer is essential if the cell is to survive its frequent encounters with macrophages f the reticuloendothelial system, especially in thespleen. ? Premature destruction of thallassemic and sickle red cells has been linked to disruptions of lipid asymmetry leading to exposure of PS on the outer monolayer. ? An exposure of PS can potentiate adhesion of red cells to vascular endothelial cells, effectively preventing normal transit through the microvasculature. Thus it is important that PS is maintained only in the inner leaflet of the bilayer to ensure normal blood flow in microcirculation. Both PS and phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) can regulate membrane mechanical function, due to their interactions with skeletal proteins such as spectrin and protein 4. 1R. Recent studies have shown that binding of spectrin to PS promotes membrane mechanical stability. PIP2 enhances the binding of protein band 4. 1R to glycophorin C but decreases its interaction with protein band 3, and thereby may modulate the linkage of the bilayer to the membrane skeleton.

The presence of specialized structures named “lipid rafts” in the erythrocyte membrane have been described by recent studies. These are structures enriched in cholesterol and sphingolipids associated with specific membrane proteins, namely flotillins, stomatins (band 7), G-proteins, and ? -adrenergic receptors. Lipid rafts that have been implicated in cell signaling events in nonerythroid cells have been shown in erythroid cells to mediate ? 2-adregenic receptor signaling and increase cAMP levels, and thus regulating entry of malarial parasites into normal red cells. 30][31] [edit]Membrane proteins [pic] [pic] Red blood cell membrane proteins separated by SDS-Page and silverstained[32] The proteins of the membrane skeleton are responsible for the deformability, flexibility and durability of the red blood cell, enabling it to squeeze through capillaries less than half the diameter of the erythrocyte (7-8 ? m) and recovering the discoid shape as soon as these cells stop receiving compressive forces, in a similar fashion to an object made of rubber.

There are currently more than 50 known membrane proteins, which can exist in a few hundred up to a million copies per erythrocyte. Approximately 25 of these membrane proteins carry the various blood group antigens, such as the A, B and Rh antigens, among many others. These membrane proteins can perform a wide diversity of functions, such as transporting ions and molecules across the red cell membrane, adhesion and interaction with other cells such as endothelial cells, as signaling receptors, as well as other currently unknown functions.

The blood types of humans are due to variations in surface glycoproteins of erythrocytes. Disorders of the proteins in these membranes are associated with many disorders, such as hereditary spherocytosis, hereditary elliptocytosis, hereditary stomatocytosis, and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. [29][30] The red blood cell membrane proteins organized according to their function:


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