Red Cell Terminology

Several nomenclatures are used to describe the maturation stages of the red cell. Both are presented here because many textbooks use them interchangeably. There seems to be little advantage in using one terminology over the other; however, the original intent of creating the terminologies was to clarify the terms created in the 1800s to describe red cell maturation and make the stages of maturation easier to remember and master. The College of American Pathologists (CAP) uses the word "blast" in the description of maturation

Mature erythrocytes

Figure 3.1 Through the erythropoietic process, a single pluripotent stem cell will yield 16 mature erythrocytes.

Mature erythrocytes

Figure 3.1 Through the erythropoietic process, a single pluripotent stem cell will yield 16 mature erythrocytes.

Table 3.1 O Key Features of Red Cell Development

• Nuclei are always "baseball" round.

• Basophila of cytoplasm is an indicator of immaturity

• Cell size reduces with maturity.

• As hemoglobin develops, the cytoplasm becomes more magenta.

• The N:C ratio decreases as the cell matures.

• The cytoplasm of the red cell does not contain specific granulation.

• Nuclear chromatin becomes more condensed with age.

• Nucleated red cells (orthochromic normoblasts) are not a physiological component of the normal peripheral smear.

stages, whereas the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) incorporates "rubri" into the first four maturation stages (Table 3.2). Throughout this textbook, CAP terminology is used.2

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