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Definition of Red blood cell

Red blood cell: The blood cell that carries oxygen. Red cells contain hemoglobin and it is the hemoglobin which permits them to transport oxygen (and carbon dioxide). Hemoglobin, aside from being a transport molecule, is a pigment. It gives the cell its red color (and name).

The mature red blood cell (RBC) is a non-nucleated biconcave disk. Thanks to this unusual shape and its hemoglobin content, the RBC is superbly suited to the transport of oxygen.

A red blood cell is sometimes simply referred to as a red cell. It is also called an erythrocyte or, rarely today, a red blood corpuscle.

Picture of Red Blood Cells
Picture of Red Blood Cells

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=15489
Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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