Red blood cell production
Blood carries various substances that must be brought to one part of the body or another. Red blood cells are an important element of blood. Their job is to transport oxygen to the body’s tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide, which is carried to and eliminated by the lungs.
Red blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow of bones. Stem cells in the red bone marrow called hemocytoblasts give rise to all of the formed elements in blood. If a hemocytoblast commits to becoming a cell called a proerythroblast, it will develop into a new red blood cell.
The formation of a red blood cell from hemocytoblast takes about 2 days. The body makes about two million red blood cells every second.
Blood is made up of both cellular and liquid components. If a sample of blood is spun in a centrifuge, the formed elements and fluid matrix of blood can be separated from each other. Blood consists of 45% red blood cells, less than 1% white blood cells and platelets, and 55% plasma.
Last reviewed 2/8/2012 by Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Palm Beach Cancer Institute, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
- The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
- A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
- Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
- Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.