Red Blood Cell Production, Function, and Relevant Red Cell Morphology

Betty Ciesla

Basic Red Cell Production Red Cell Maturation Red Cell Terminology

Maturation Stages of the Red Cell


Basophilic Normoblast

Polychromatophilic Normoblast

Orthochromic Normoblast-Nucleated (nRBC)


Mature Red Cell

Red Blood Cell Membrane Development and Function

Composition of Lipids in the Interior and Exterior Layers

Composition of Proteins in the Lipid Bilayers The Cytoskeleton

Red Cell Metabolism

Abnormal Red Cell Morphology

Variations in Red Cell Size Variations in Red Cell Color Variations in Red Cell Shape

Red Cell Inclusions


After completing this chapter, the student will be able to:

1. Outline erythropoietic production from origin to maturation with emphasis on stages of red cell development.

2. Describe immature red cells with regard to nucleus:cytoplasm ratio, cytoplasm, nuclear structure, and size.

3. Clarify the role of erythropoietin in health and disease.

4. Differentiate between American Society of Clinical Pathology and College of American Pathol-ogists terminology for the red cell series.

5. Review red cell metabolism with regard to energy needs.

6. Describe the composition of the red cell membrane with regard to key proteins and lipids.

7. Describe the components necessary for maintaining a normal red cell life span.

8. Outline the plasma factors that affect red cell life span.

9. Define anisocytosis and poikilocytosis.

10. Differentiate between microcyte and macrocyte.

11. Indicate the clinical conditions in which variations in size are seen.

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