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Quantitative data have been published about many of the components of the red cell, including minerals, carbohydrates, enzymes and other proteins, vitamins, and lipids. Some of these are marred by the failure to rigorously remove white cells from the red cell pellet, but this chapter provides access to some of the large amount of data that is available.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Acronyms and abbreviations that appear in this chapter include: RBC, red blood cell.

The erythrocyte is a complex cell. The membrane is composed of lipids and proteins, and the interior of the cell contains metabolic machinery designed to sustain the cell through its 120-day life span and maintain the integrity of hemoglobin function. Each component of red blood cells may be expressed as a function of red cell volume, grams of hemoglobin, or square centimeters of cell surface. These expressions are usually interchangeable, but under certain circumstances each may have specific advantages. However, because disease may produce changes in the average red cell size, hemoglobin content, or surface area, the use of any of these measurements individually may, at times, be misleading.

For convenience and uniformity, data in the accompanying tables (Tables 30-1, 30-2, 30-3, 30-4, 30-5, 30-6, 30-7, 30-8, and 30-9) are expressed in terms of cell constituent per milliliter of red cell and per gram of hemoglobin. In many instances, this process required recalculation of published data. These recalculations assume a hematocrit value of 45 percent and 33 g of hemoglobin per deciliter of red cells. To obtain concentration per gram of hemoglobin, the concentration per milliliter red blood cell (RBC) can be multiplied by 3.03. The tables list only some of the most commonly referred to constituents of the erythrocyte. The reference on which each value is based is the first number presented in the last column of each table. Where applicable, additional confirmatory references are given. Additional data and references may be found elsewhere.1,2 In some instances, only the percentage of the total of the type of constituent present is given. Chap. 46 presents data regarding activities of red cell enzymes.

Table 30–1. Human Erythrocyte Protein and Water Content
Table 30–2. Human Erythrocyte Lipids

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