Composition and Functions of Blood

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1 Composition and Functions of Blood A. Components 1. Blood: a connective tissue with blood cells suspended in plasma a. It is the only fluid tissue 2. Formed elements: living blood cells a. Erythrocytes: red blood cells (transport oxygen) b. Leukocytes: white blood cells (immunity) 3. Plasma: a non-living fluid matrix 4. Platelets: cell fragments involved in blood clotting 5. The components of blood may be separated with a centrifuge a. Hematocrit: the percentage of erythrocytes to total blood volume i. About 45% of the blood s total volume ii. The bottom (densest) layer in the centrifuge b. Buffy Coat: a thin, whitish layer between the formed elements and plasma in a centrifuge i. Contains Leukocytes and Platelets NOTE: Plasma is the top layer in a centrifuge (least dense) B. Physical Characteristics and Volume 1. Bloods color varies from: a. Scarlet (oxygen-rich) to b. Dull Red (oxygen-poor) 2. Blood is heavier than water 3. Blood is about five times more viscous (thicker) than water 1

2 4. Blood has a ph of 7.35 to 7.45 (slightly alkaline) 5. Blood s temperature is always slightly higher than body temperature 6. Blood is about 8% of body weight 7. Blood volume is about 5 to 6 Liters in healthy males C. Plasma 1. Plasma is about 90% water with over 100 substances dissolved in it a. Examples: nutrients, salts, gases, hormones, plasma proteins, wastes, etc b. Plasma Proteins are the most abundant solutes in the plasma i. Except for antibodies and protein-based hormones, most are made in the liver 2. Plasma Proteins: a. Albumin: contributes to osmotic pressure of blood b. Fibrinogen: clotting of blood c. Globulins: defense (antibodies) and lipid transport D. Formed Elements 1. Erythrocytes: red blood cells a. Are anucleate i. Anucleate: lack a nucleus b. Contain hemoglobin i. Hemoglobin: iron-bearing protein that transports oxygen and carbon dioxide c. Lack mitochondria i. Therefore, there are anaerobic and don t use they oxygen they carry d. Shaped like bi-concave discs 2

3 e. Outnumber white blood cells 1000 to 1 i. About 5 million per cubic millimeter of blood --1 mm 3 is barely enough to be seen ii. The amount of hemoglobin determines how much oxygen can be carried, not the number of red blood cells f. Anemia: decrease in the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood i. From lower than normal number of red blood cells ii. From abnormal or deficient hemoglobin content 2. Leukocytes: white blood cells a. 4,000 to 11,000 WBCs/mm 3 b. Contain nuclei and organelles c. Diapedesis: able to slip into and out of blood vessels d. Positive Chemotaxis: WBCs locate areas of tissue damage and infection by responding to chemicals that diffuse from the damaged cells e. Ameboid Motion: WBCs move through tissue spaces by flowing cytoplasmic extensions. f. WBC production speeds up when WBC mobilize i. Number may double within an hour ii. Leukocytosis: a total WBC count above 11,000 cells/mm 3 iii. Leukopenia: an abnormally low WBC count 3. White blood cells are classified into two groups: Granulocytes and Agranulocytes 4. Granulocytes: granule-containing white blood cells a. Neutrophils: have multilobed nucleus and very fine granules (cytoplasm stains pink) i. Are avid phagocytes at sites of cute infection 3

4 b. Eosinophils: nucleus that resembles an old-fashioned telephone receiver (stains bluered) i. Number increased during allergies and infections by parasitic worms c. Basophils: contain large histamine-containing granules (stain dark blue) i. Rarest WBC ii. Histamine: inflammatory chemical that makes blood vessels leaky and attracts other WBCs to the inflammatory site. 5. Agranulocytes: lack visible cytoplasmic granules a. Lymphocytes: have a large dark purple nucleus that occupies most of the cell volume i. Tend to reside in lymphatic tissue b. Monocytes: largest of the WBCs i. Migrate into the tissues and change into macrophages 6. Platelets: fragments of megakaryocytes a. Megakaryocytes: bone marrow cells which pinch off thousands of platelets b. Needed for blood clotting E. Hematopoiesis 1. Hematopoiesis: blood cell formation a. Occurs in the red bone marrow 2. Hemocytoblast: a type of stem cell that gives rise to all the formed elements a. Resides in the red bone marrow b. Forms two types of descendants i. Lymphoid Stem Cell: produces lymphocytes ii. Myeloid Stem Cell: produce all other classes of formed elements 4

5 3. Red Blood Cells cannot synthesize proteins, grow, or divide (because they re anucleate) a. Live days b. Remains are broken down by the spleen, liver, and other body tissues c. Erythropoietin: hormone that controls the rate of erythrocyte production 5

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