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I can't really add much more as far as a definition goes, but the RBCs (Red Blood Cells) are what transport oxygen to the other cells in your body. They need to be shaped in a manner that allows the oxygen to adhere to the RBC. There are too many examples of diseases caused by sick & diseased RBCs to post here, 'tho Sickle Cell Anemia is an excellent example. A healthy, human RBC looks almost like a donut, ('tho there's no hole, it's just thinner in the middle) the center being where the 2 proteins that make up hemoglobin, (a sort of "glue") that binds with the oxygen provided in your lungs, to be carried throughout the body. HEMOGLOBIN is another part of a CBC (Complete Blood Count) With Sickle Cell Anemia, the RBC is shaped like a sickle (curved, sort of like a quarter moon) which doesn't provide a place for the hemoglobin to adhere the oxygen to (like the healthy "donut" shape which has its own comfy "nesting place" for it does.) So the patient doesn't receive enough oxygen, & there are very painful symptoms associated with this disease. Another abnormal condition in human RBC morphology is called "Rouleaux" where the cells sort of "link" together & form chains of RBCs. Each species has its own characteristics, in fact you would expect to see a Rouleaux condition on a slide of horse's blood, that is natural for them. Dogs & cats RBCs (as well as WBCs) are very similar to human blood. Don't know if this helps clear anything up, but I thought you might find it interesting~ now don't get me started about how fascinating mother kangaroos are, LOL!
Former vet tech, lab tech (human medicine) etc.
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Shape and size, technically. There are medical diseases that change the shape of the red cells. ( e.g. Sickle cell anemia) other conditions such a lead poisoning cause changes in the appearance called "basophilic stippling" . There is a disease called Neuroacanthosis that changes the red cells into "acanthocytes"- prickly little red cells. Just a few. Need a textbook of Hematology to cover all the changes.
Shape and size. There are some shaped like sickles, and I bet you can guess what disease is associated. Pernicious anemia, folate deficiency, and liver disease can cause megaloblastic anemias, in which the cells are bigger and fatter than normal. Classic iron deficiency, on the other hand, gives you little, pale cells. A peek at a smear is useful. The Coulter counter helps you out by measuring MCV (mean corpuscular volume), MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin), and MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration), collectively known as RBC indices.
any abnormality of the red blood cells themselves; i.e., different sizes, shapes, colors, etcs. .
for instance, if there are a lot of small and large ones and some are different colored, they could be reticulocyes or new red blood cells that would indicate the patient is replacing red blood cells after a bleed, or in the case of certain types of anemia, etc. .
if the cells themselves are uniform in shape but are all light in color, that is a different type of anemia. . .
the red cell morphology is what the red cells look like. if they are not completely normal in shape and size a technologist looks at a slide to determine the abnormality.
basically the tech is looking at the size, the shape and the appearance of the hemoglobin in the cells. also the tech is looking for abnormal inclusions in the cells.
the descriptions are microcytes, macrocytes, anisocytosis, hypochromia, sphereocytes, acanathocytes, echinocytes, ovalocytes, schiztocytes, elliptocytes, stomatocytes, helmet cells, burr cells and sickle cells. basophilic stippling is left over reticulum from younger cells. the stippling can either be punctate or diffuse. siderotic granules are the result of iron overload either from massive transfusions or excessive iron intake. the morphology helps the dr to determine the type of anemia/ blood disorder the patient has.
Source(s):MT(ASCP) 22 YRS