Reticulocyte

From Academic Kids

Reticulocytes are immature red blood cells, that normally comprise about 1% of the red cells in the human body.

They are called reticulocytes, because of a reticular (mesh-like) network of RNA that becomes visible under a microscrope with certain stains. They appear slightly bluer than other red cells when looked at with the normal Romanowsky stain. Reticulocytes are also slightly larger, which can be picked up as a high MCV (mean corpuscular volume) with a full blood count done by machine.

The normal range of values for reticulocytes in the blood is 0.2% to 2.0%.

The number of reticulocytes is a good indicator of red bone marrow activity, and can be used by doctors to monitor the progress of treatment for anemia.

Reticulocytes increase in number and percentage when there is increased production of red blood cells such as in a haemolytic anaemia or sickle cell anemia - the increase in reticulocytes is called reticulocytosis.

Decreases in reticulocytes can be attributed to chemotherapy, aplastic anemia, or pernicious anemia.

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