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What is in Your Blood?

What is in your blood and what does the thing in your blood do?

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Blood is a lot more than just a red liquid that flows around the body, blood is a complicated tissue made up of lots of different components, which are, red blood cell, white blood cell, the plasma and platelets.

Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells are highly specialized, and they are made in bone marrow. They have a limited life of 100 days and are destroyed in the spleen. The have one job and one job only and that is to carry oxygen. They have several features that enabled them to carry this out more efficiently. Red blood cells contain haemoglobin.  Haemoglobin is a protein that contains iron. Haemoglobin combines with oxygen to form oxyhaemoglobin, but this only happens when there is a high concentration of oxygen. When the concentration of oxygen is low the oxyhaemoglobin turns back into haemoglobin and the oxygen is disbanded. The red blood cells collect their oxygen from the lungs and they transport it around the body and when they reach their destinations they unload the oxygen. Red blood cells do not have a nucleus; it lost it during in the development in the bone marrow. This meant that there would be more room for haemoglobin, and with more haemoglobin they can carry more oxygen making they job the do more effective. The reason that a blood cell is concave on both sides is because this increases its surface area for diffusion. The cell membrane of the blood cell is thin so that oxygen can travel through membrane easily.

White Blood Cells

There are severally different types of white blood cells. The main roll of the white blood cells is to protect the body from invasions from disease-causing microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. They do this in two main ways: phagocytosis and antibody production. Around 70% of white blood cell eat (take in) microorganism such as bacteria. This is called phagocytosis, and the cells phagocytes. They do this by changing their shape, producing extension of their cytoplasm. The cytoplasm secretes enzymes into the vacuole to break the microorganism down. About 25% of white blood cells are lymphocytes. Their function is to make chemicals called antibodies. Antibodies are soluble proteins the pass into the plasma. Bacteria and viruses have telltale chemical ‘markers’ on there, and the antibodies recognize these. The makers are called antigens. Antibodies stick to these and destroy them.

Platelets

Platelets are whole cells, but are fragments of large cells made in the bone marrow. If you cut yourself, the air simulates the platelets and damaged skin to produce chemicals. This chemicals causes the soluble plasma protein fibrinogen to change into insoluble fibres of another protein, fibrin. The fibrin forms a network across the wound, in which red blood cells become trapped. This forms a blood clot. The clot turns into a scab, which protects the damaged skin while new skin grows.  

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