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Erythrocytes live up to 120 days in the circulation, after which the worn-out cells are removed by a type of myeloid phagocytic cell called a macrophage    , located primarily within the bone marrow, liver, and spleen. The components of the degraded erythrocytes’ hemoglobin are further processed as follows:

  • Globin, the protein portion of hemoglobin, is broken down into amino acids, which can be sent back to the bone marrow to be used in the production of new erythrocytes. Hemoglobin that is not phagocytized is broken down in the circulation, releasing alpha and beta chains that are removed from circulation by the kidneys.
  • The iron contained in the heme portion of hemoglobin may be stored in the liver or spleen, primarily in the form of ferritin or hemosiderin, or carried through the bloodstream by transferrin to the red bone marrow for recycling into new erythrocytes.
  • The non-iron portion of heme is degraded into the waste product biliverdin    , a green pigment, and then into another waste product, bilirubin    , a yellow pigment. Bilirubin binds to albumin and travels in the blood to the liver, which uses it in the manufacture of bile, a compound released into the intestines to help emulsify dietary fats. In the large intestine, bacteria breaks the bilirubin apart from the bile and converts it to urobilinogen and then into stercobilin. It is then eliminated from the body in the feces. Broad-spectrum antibiotics typically eliminate these bacteria as well and may alter the color of feces. The kidneys also remove any circulating bilirubin and other related metabolic byproducts such as urobilins and secrete them into the urine.

The breakdown pigments formed from the destruction of hemoglobin can be seen in a variety of situations. At the site of an injury, biliverdin from damaged RBCs produces some of the dramatic colors associated with bruising. With a failing liver, bilirubin cannot be removed effectively from circulation and causes the body to assume a yellowish tinge associated with jaundice. Stercobilins within the feces produce the typical brown color associated with this waste. And the yellow of urine is associated with the urobilins.

The erythrocyte lifecycle is summarized in [link] .

Erythrocyte lifecycle

This flow chart shows the life cycle of a red blood cell. The first step is the hemopoeisis of erythrocytes in the bone marrow. Further steps in this diagram show the passage of erythrocytes through the blood stream, the breakdown of heme protein, and liver function.
Erythrocytes are produced in the bone marrow and sent into the circulation. At the end of their lifecycle, they are destroyed by macrophages, and their components are recycled.

Disorders of erythrocytes

The size, shape, and number of erythrocytes, and the number of hemoglobin molecules can have a major impact on a person’s health. When the number of RBCs or hemoglobin is deficient, the general condition is called anemia    . There are more than 400 types of anemia and more than 3.5 million Americans suffer from this condition. Anemia can be broken down into three major groups: those caused by blood loss, those caused by faulty or decreased RBC production, and those caused by excessive destruction of RBCs. Clinicians often use two groupings in diagnosis: The kinetic approach focuses on evaluating the production, destruction, and removal of RBCs, whereas the morphological approach examines the RBCs themselves, paying particular emphasis to their size. A common test is the mean corpuscle volume (MCV), which measures size. Normal-sized cells are referred to as normocytic, smaller-than-normal cells are referred to as microcytic, and larger-than-normal cells are referred to as macrocytic. Reticulocyte counts are also important and may reveal inadequate production of RBCs. The effects of the various anemias are widespread, because reduced numbers of RBCs or hemoglobin will result in lower levels of oxygen being delivered to body tissues. Since oxygen is required for tissue functioning, anemia produces fatigue, lethargy, and an increased risk for infection. An oxygen deficit in the brain impairs the ability to think clearly, and may prompt headaches and irritability. Lack of oxygen leaves the patient short of breath, even as the heart and lungs work harder in response to the deficit.

Questions & Answers

life circle of RBC and the life circle of WBC.
Yemi Reply
RBC 120days
Zeph
RBC 120days and WBC 10-12days
sai
what is anatomy?
Md Reply
positive feedback mechanism
Sirimala Reply
what is immunology
Riya Reply
immunology is a branch of medicine that study's the body immune system
SAMUEL
Immunology This is the study of specific and non-specific resistance of the body against infection i.e. the study of the immune response of a host to a foreign substance, which includes study of various reactions which are induced in the body by introduction of a substance.
Kaluki
what is role of elimination need like fluid and also stools
Munmun Reply
bone
Vijay
what is joint pain
Vijay
is the physical suffering caused by illness or injury of the joint
malulu
pls can someone describe shock,types ,pathophysiology and treatment
Isaac
this is what I'm thinking "After taking out everything the body needs, the bowel then expels the leftover waste."
isaiah
I think elimination also helps in the continuation of the digestive system because if the unwanted fluids and stools does not come out of the system it can create a problem in the digestive. system resulting in diseases.
Martha
shock is a condition whereby the circulating system is unable to get enough blood and oxygen to vital organs like the brain,heart,eye,kidney and others.
Martha
causing depression of those organs.
Martha
there are 2 classification of shock. primary shock: this occurs immediately after injury due emotional stimulus or pain.example hearing a bad news,sudden obstruction of airway.sudden heart attack. secondary shock :it occurs when primary shock is delayed
Martha
types of shock syncope (faint) oligaemic or hyppvovaemic shock. Anaphylactic shock. neurogenic/ physical shock septic sock catdiogenic shock.
Martha
What is the difference between dna duplication and chromosomes duplication?
to help you identify the human body parts to help you live a healthy life the study of Anatomy helps one to work in any health sector
sophia Reply
okay.
what is the function of the mitochondrial in the cell
Vida Reply
define and explain the synovial membrane
Mahmudu Reply
What is cloning?
Jesam Reply
relationship between anatomy and physiology
Ranjeeta Reply
anatomy is the structure and physiology is the function
Isaac
the branches of physiology
Asiedu Reply
is single DNA arranged into 46 chromosomes
Vaishnavi Reply
don't know about it
Sachin
no it is duble strand or pair of chromosomes
Marta
how does muscle contraction work?
Matthew
no,it is arranged as 23 pairs chromosomes
Ajiola
what are the parts of a cell?
Noel Reply
cell body, nucleus, cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum (rough and smooth), Golgi apparatus, cell membrane and organelles.
Heather
cell membrane, cell wall,cytoplasm, nucleus, etc
Felix
explain how skeletal muscles work
Felix
they work voluntarily
Trina
46 chromosomes present in which part of human body
Anar
when twins born how both of them carry 46 chromosomes
Anar
In the nuclear membrane
wisdom
but thiere r many cells n definetely cells have many nuclear membrane
Anar
cytoplasm plasma membrane nucleus
Ajiola
nucleus cytoplasm epr spr mitochondria
sureshbabu
cell have many parts and it act as different function s
sureshbabu
lysosome, golge body, cytoplasm, smooth endoplasmic reticulum
Vida
what is sex with male and female!
Muhammad Reply
intercourse
Jessie
sexual intercourse
Jessie
for formation of new generation
Sunil
sex is a female and male body courtship, rubbing of penis and vagina which results in release of fluids (sperm) from male in to the vagina of the female know as ejaculation
CHUOL
sex is a body courtship, penis and vagina rubbing which results in release of fluids sperm)
CHUOL
how sure a u?
Pius
it's like copulation
Pius

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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