Blood is the fluid connective tissue and it plays a very vital role in the human body. There are four primary components of blood and they are red blood cells and white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Plasma makes up around 55 % of the human blood in the body.
The blood performs three major functions in the human body, namely:
- Regulation of body temperature and also regulates the pH level of the body.
Also Refer: Human Circulatory System
Red Blood Cells
The Red blood cells are also called erythrocytes. RBCs store the haemoglobin, which is a respiratory pigment that binds to oxygen or carbon dioxide molecules. This helps in the transportation of the oxygen to different tissues and organs of the human body. It also takes away the carbon-dioxide from different organs and tissues to be replenished in the lungs.
Haemoglobin is mainly composed of iron, which combines with the oxygen, thus giving a reddish colour to the blood. It occupies 40-45% of the total volume of blood. The main function of the RBCs is the transportation of nutrients and the hormones throughout the human body.
Lifespan of RBC
The lifespan of RBC is 100-120 days. When their lifespan is completed, they are eliminated through the circulatory system. When a person suffers from chronic diseases, the lifespan of RBCs is reduced.
Also Read: Body Fluids and Circulation
White Blood cells
The white blood cells are also called Leukocytes. These cells act as a defence system against any infections in the human body. They produce a special kind of proteins called antibodies, which identify and fight against the foreign entities invading the human body. These cells are classified further as granulocytes and agranulocytes.
The white blood cells contain visible granule-like structures in the cell bodies, hence their names Granulocytes. On the other hand, agranulocytes do not possess these granule-like structures. The three kinds of granulocytes are neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils. The two types of agranulocytes are lymphocytes and monocytes.
WBCs comprise 1% of the total blood volume. They are colourless because they are devoid of haemoglobin.
Lifespan of WBC
The lifespan of WBC is 12-20 days. After that, they are destroyed in the lymphatic system. The immature WBCs are released from the bone marrow into the peripheral blood and are called bands or stabs. The lifespan of WBC changes with age. For instance, a newborn baby has a high white blood cell count in comparison to an adult. The lifespan of WBC also changes with pregnancy. A pregnant woman has a very high white blood cell count.
Let us learn more about the difference between the red blood cells and white blood cells.
Difference between Red Blood Cells and White Blood Cells
|RBC – Red Blood Cells||WBC – White Blood Cells|
|Red blood cells are called Erythrocytes.||White Blood Cells are called Leucocytes or Leukocytes.|
|RBCs are shaped as bi-concave discs.||These have an irregular shape.|
|Size varies from 6 – 8 µm in diameter.||Size varies from 12 – 17 µm in diameter.|
|The lifespan of RBC is about 120 days.||The lifespan of WBC is around 12-20 days after which, they are destroyed in the lymphatic system|
|Red blood cells do not have a nucleus at maturity.||WBCs are characterized by the presence of a large central nucleus.|
|Due to the presence of haemoglobin, these cells appear red in colour.||These cells are colourless, as they do not have any pigment.|
|Only one type of RBCs exists.||Different types of WBC’s are found in the blood such as neutrophils, B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, monocytes, basophils, eosinophils.|
|They help in the transport of respiratory gases to different parts of the human body||They help in producing antibodies to fight against diseases causing microbes.|
|RBCs are produced in the red bone marrow||These cells are produced in the red bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen, etc.|
|The components of red blood cells are haemoglobin.||The components of white blood cells are antibodies with the presence of MHC (major histocompatibility complex) antigen cell markers.|
|These cells make up around 36-50% of human blood.||They make up around 1% of the human blood.|
|They are about 5 million/ mm³ of blood.||They are about 7000–8000/mm³ of blood.|
|The process of formation of RBC is known as erythropoiesis.||The process of formation of WBC is known as leukopoiesis.|
|These cells move between the cardiovascular systems.||These cells move between the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems.|
|Low count of RBCs results in Anaemia.||Low count of WBC’S results in Leukopenia.|
For more information on the difference between red blood cells and white blood cells, their characteristics features and the lifespan of WBC and RBC, keep visiting BYJU’S website or download BYJU’S app for further reference.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the other name for Red Blood Cells?
Red Blood Cells are also called erythrocytes
2. What are the main functions of the blood?
The blood is primarily involved in the transportation of oxygen and nutrients across the body. It is also responsible for the regulation of body temperature.
3. What is the typical lifespan of a Red Blood Cell?
Red blood cells in a typical adult human have a lifespan of 100 to 120 days. However, diseases or illnesses can cause the lifespan to be shortened drastically.
4. What are leukocytes?
Leukocytes are also called white blood cells. They function to keep the body safe from pathogens and infections.
5. What is the function of the white blood cells?
The main function of white blood cells is to ensure that pathogenic particles or foreign substances that enter the body are quickly destroyed by phagocytosis.
6. What is the lifespan of WBC?
The typical lifespan of WBC is around 12 to 20 days. However, just like the RBCs, the lifespan of WBCs can be affected if the individual is sick. The count of WBC also changes with the age of the individual, for instance, a newborn baby has comparatively more WBCs than an adult.
7. Describe the shape of RBCs and WBCs.
Red blood cells are disc-shaped and biconcave, meanwhile, the white blood cells do not have a defined shape.
8. State the various types of white blood cells.
There various types of white blood cells are neutrophils, B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, monocytes, basophils and eosinophils
9. Where are the red blood cells produced?
The red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. However, it requires 7 days to mature before being released into the blood stream.
Extended Reading: Blood