Red blood cells

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 27 Jul 2022

Red blood cells (RBCs), also known as erythrocytes (or rarely haematids), are cells that carry oxygen by means of hemoglobin, and form part of the cellular component of blood as it circulates throughout the body. These extremely common cells are typically made in the bone marrow in a process called erythropoiesis. During this process in humans, the red blood cell nuclei are expelled.

Normal red blood cells live about 120 days before destruction, however certain diseases will alter the survival time of these cells. 

Erythrocytes are typed by their surface antigens (which define blood groups) for safe blood transfusion.

Radiological importance

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