Friday, 28 May 2010
Describe the structure of a red blood cell and explain how this relates to its function
Red blood cells have a unique shape for their function.
· Flattened, biconcave disc shape
· Don’t have a nuclei or mitochondria
· In adulthood they are produced in the bone marrow
· They live approximately 120 days
· They transport oxygen around the body
· Red colour due to haemoglobin.
Red blood cells are thinner in the centre and thicker around the edges. They are very flexible with the ability to twist and bend through the blood vessels, as these narrow and widen throughout the body. It function is to carry oxygen around the body to all the tissues from the lungs, the red blood cells than transport the carbon dioxide from the cells back to the lungs. The biconcave shape increases the cell's surface area and facilitates diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide into or out of the cell. With the red blood cell not containing a nuclei it helps contribute to increased haemoglobin content and gas-carrying capacity. (Walmsley, 2003)