Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Structure Of Red Blood Cells and Relation To Function

Picture taken from www.getwellnatural.com

2.2 Describe The Structure Of A Red Blood Cell and Explain How
It Relates To It's Function

Red blood cells also known as erythrocytes play a large part in the body. There are around 4.5 - 5.8 million (ivy-rose web), of these cells in the body per micro litre of healthy blood and they last around 120 days. The purpose of red cells is to supply and transport oxygen and to also get rid of carbon dioxide. In order for this to happen the structure helps a lot.
The shape of a red blood cell is a biconcave disk, it as a sunken centre on both sides, this allows the cell to have a larger cell membrane surface which can be exposed to diffusing oxygen whilst it is travelling to the lungs. The structure also enables the cells to be more flexible when it comes to them passing through tight passages like the capillaries. This is because they are flexible, bendy and bounce about, the cells are around 7.8 micrometers (cell tissue suite web) in diameter.
The immature red blood cell contains a nucleus but the mature ones don't, they also don't have mitochondria or other organelles. However the red blood cells do contain hemoglobin, these are molecules of protein and iron. These help in the process of picking up oxygen and transporting it through the vessels of the lung sacs that are called alveoli.
Due to the red blood cells being carried around the body easily they are able to help keep their small energy needs by a form of anaerobic respiration and are also able to distribute oxygen effectively to areas that need it the most.
Red blood cells also have something called carbonic anhydrase, this is an enzyme, it makes carbon dioxide and water, it then catalyzes to make a molecule called bicarbonnate. This is able to dissolve a lot better than carbon dioxide in the fluid, meaning that a greater amount can be carried around without the need to be in the small red blood cells.
Overall without red blood cells the oxygen in our body wouldn't be able to circulate and we wouldn't be able to get rid of the carbon dioxide. There for they are a very important part of our blood and their structure helps a lot in the process they carry out.

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