Blood is a mixture of plasma and cellular components. All the cells found in the blood, including erythrocytes, platelets, and leukocytes, come from bone marrow. Leukocytes also known as white blood cells (WBCs) consist of granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes. These cells are important in both the innate and adaptive immune response. Leukocytes exhibit distinct and specific functions that cooperate to form the basis of the immune system. They can provide rapid, effective, specific, and durable responses to invading pathogens. In addition to pathogen control, leukocytes play key roles in the immune system for wound healing, homeostasis, and disease prevention. Disarray in leukocytes can lead to inappropriate immune responses or even immune diseases such as autoimmunity, allergy, or leukemia.
Erythrocytes also known as red blood cells (RBCs) are the predominant cellular component in blood. Mature erythrocytes are biconcave and discoid without nuclei. A phospholipid bilayer membrane forms this structure of erythrocyte, which is maintained by the network of proteins that make up the cytoskeleton. This cytoskeleton allows for cellular structural integrity and malleability. The inherent deformability is a function of erythrocyte’s biconcave shape, membrane elasticity, and cytoplasmic viscosity. Erythrocytes that lose their deformability are removed by the spleen. The biconcave shape of the erythrocyte maximizes the surface area for gas exchange by nearly 30% when compared to a sphere of the same volume. The biconcave design also aids in the elasticity of the erythrocyte membrane while traversing the microvasculature. In the microcirculation, the erythrocyte undergoes both torsion and stretching in response to shear stress as it navigates through small capillary vessels. The transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide is the major function of erythrocytes. Erythrocytes deliver oxygen from the lungs to peripheral tissues to assist metabolic processes such as ATP synthesis and collect the generated carbon dioxide from the periphery and return it to the lungs for elimination from the body. Erythrocytes are sensitive to their surroundings and they change shape in respond to their environment. When ATP is depleted or intracellular calcium is increased, the cells develop an echinocytic shape. Variation in the size, distribution, and shape of erythrocytes can be used as clues to pathological processes.
Platelets are tiny anucleate cells in the blood that maintain hemostasis by adhering to the endothelium of blood vessels, aggregating with other platelets and initiating the coagulation cascade, resulting in the production of fibrin meshes. Platelets are also involved in inflammation, angiogenesis, innate immunity, and other non-hemostatic physiological processes. Platelets are usually quiescent. Upon activation, the platelets undergo a drastic shape change, become highly adhesive, and secrete a variety of proteins and chemicals.
Amerigo Scientific offers premium-quality blood cell products from a variety of species for different applications such as immunoassays, culture media preparation, and toxicity studies.
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