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erythrocyte (ĭrĭthˈrəsītˌ): see blood.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a red blood corpuscle, or cell, in man, the vertebrates, and some invertebrates (echinoderms). Erythrocytes transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, and carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. They regulate the acid-base balance and maintain osmotic balance in the blood and tissues. In addition, amino acids and lipids are absorbed from the blood plasma, and transported to the tissues, by erythrocytes.

Mature mammalian and human erythrocytes lack the nucleus that is present in the early stages of their development—that is, in the erythroblasts. They have the shape of a biconcave disk. Erythrocytes consist mainly of the respiratory pigment hemoglobin, which is responsible for the red color of blood. The erythrocytes of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes are nucleated. The erythroblasts’ actively functioning nuclei gradually become inactive in the course of the erythrocytes’ development; they can, however, be reactivated. At the same time, ribosomes and other constituents that participate in protein synthesis disappear from the cytoplasm. The cell (or plasma) membrane plays an important role by permitting the passage of gases, ions, and water in the erythrocytes. On the surface of the lipoprotein membrane are specific glycoprotein antigens, or agglutinogens—the blood group factors responsible for the agglutination of erythrocytes.

The efficient functioning of hemoglobin depends on the erythrocytes’ area of surface contact with the environment. The smaller the erythrocytes, the greater their total surface area. The lower invertebrates have large erythrocytes (measuring, for example, 70 micrometers in diameter in the caudate amphibian Amphiuma), and the higher vertebrates have smaller ones (4 micrometers in diameter in goats). Human erythrocytes vary in diameter from 7.2 to 7.5 micrometers.

The number of erythrocytes in the blood normally remains constant, ranging from 4.5 to 5 million in 1 mm3 of human blood. The life-span of a human erythrocyte averages 125 days; approximately 2.5 million erythrocytes are formed and an equal number are destroyed every second. The total number decreases in anemia and increases in polycythemia. In the anemias, erythrocytes are found to change shape and size; they may be large (such as the megalocytes in Addison-Biermer anemia) or small, and they may, for example, be oval in shape (as in hemolytic anemia).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A type of blood cell that contains a nucleus in all vertebrates but humans and that has hemoglobin in the cytoplasm. Also known as red blood cell.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a blood cell of vertebrates that transports oxygen and carbon dioxide, combined with the red pigment haemoglobin, to and from the tissues
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Among erythrocytic indices, MCV was significantly decreased (improved) and MCHC was insignificantly increased by BVE compared to those of the diseased control.
Within the red blood cells, the merozoites mature either into uninucleate gametocyte or into erythrocytic stage schizont containing 10-36 merozoites [39].
Immune Response to Erythrocytic Stage of Infection.
We have made a correlation analysis between the morphometric parameters determined by the LIM method and values of erythrocytic indexes.
Thirty days of melatonin supplementation resulted in the significant increases in the serum adiponectin and omentin-1 concentrations, as well as the erythrocytic GPx activities.
First, activity is considered to be prophylactic if the action is exerted against the sporozoites or the parasites of the initial tissue phase of the disease; suppressive, if against the parasites of the asexual erythrocytic phase of the disease; and curative, if against the parasites of the persisting tissue phase (2).
Density-based gradient centrifugation segregates CTCs in the mononucleocyte fraction away from the more numerous erythrocytic and granulocytic fraction (18).
Katzin, "Isoprenoid biosynthesis in the erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum" Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, vol.
The only way to have a reinfection without reexposure is from its preexisting erythrocytic forms; this is known as recrudescence.
Fujii, "Observation of choroidal circulation using index of erythrocytic velocity," Archives of Ophthalmology, vol.
PfHK exhibits 32% sequence identity with human erythrocytic hexokinase (Table 2).
These parasites infect red blood cells and initiate the erythrocytic phase [2].