Question

Describe the life cycle of a red blood cell from production through destruction.

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Red blood cells or erythrocytes are cells that are produced in the bone marrow. They are important because they carry oxygen which is essential for the survival of all body cells. Erythrocytes do not have their nucleus, which is why they can carry more oxygen. However, due to the lack of nuclei, they cannot regenerate and after approximately 120 days they begin to decay. During their lifetime, they lose membrane surface area, volume (due to water loss, ATP, protein, vesicles) and hemoglobin. Also, the pH value decreases, cytokines, and bioreactive substances are created. Eventually, they lose elasticity and disintegrate.

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