Biology

Difference between red blood cells (RBC) and white blood cells (WBC)

Main difference

Red blood cells (RBC) and white blood cells (WBC) are the main component of blood. But both are, in essence, totally different. For example, red blood cells supply oxygen to the entire body, while the main function of white blood cells is to provide immunity. Red blood cells do not have any type, but white blood cells can be divided into neutrophils, macrophages, monocytes, basophils, eosinophils, and lymphocytes. Although both red blood cells and white blood cells are completely different entities in all respects, they are derived from the same blood stem cell.

Red blood cells (RBC)

Also known as erythrocytes, it is the most common and important component of blood for carrying oxygen to all tissues in the body. The red blood cells present in the blood travel throughout the body through the circulatory system. Along with oxygen, they also have the ability to bind to CO2. Red blood cells take O2 from our respiratory tract, which then binds to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin contains 4 subunits of an iron-containing molecule called heme. Heme, a subunit of hemoglobin, has the ability to bind O2, a heme can bind only one oxygen. Therefore, a single hemoglobin can carry up to 4 O2 molecules. And the red color of red blood cells is due to the heme group. The cell wall of red blood cells is made up of lipids and proteins and they have a biconcave shape that allows them to move from even the narrowest vessels by providing stability, flexibility, and deformability. In mammals, red blood cells contain nuclei in their early stages as they mature, become enucleated, and lose some of their organelles. Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow in adults, while in the embryo they are derived from the yolk sac which is formed by the liver later in embryonic life. They cannot multiply on their own, so the old cells can only be replaced by the new cell formed in the bone marrow, leading to a shorter lifespan of 120 days. flexibility and deformability. In mammals, red blood cells contain nuclei in their early stages as they mature, become enucleated, and lose some of their organelles. Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow in adults, while in the embryo they are derived from the yolk sac which is formed by the liver later in embryonic life. They cannot multiply on their own, so the old cells can only be replaced by the new cell formed in the bone marrow, leading to a shorter lifespan of 120 days. flexibility and deformability. In mammals, red blood cells contain nuclei in their early stages as they mature, become enucleated, and lose some of their organelles. Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow in adults, while in the embryo they are derived from the yolk sac which is formed by the liver later in embryonic life. They cannot multiply on their own, so the old cells can only be replaced by the new cell formed in the bone marrow, leading to a shorter lifespan of 120 days. while in the embryo they are derived from the yolk sac that later in embryonic life is formed by the liver. They cannot multiply on their own, so the old cells can only be replaced by the new cell formed in the bone marrow, leading to a shorter lifespan of 120 days. while in the embryo they are derived from the yolk sac that later in embryonic life is formed by the liver. They cannot multiply on their own, so the old cells can only be replaced by the new cell formed in the bone marrow, leading to a shorter lifespan of 120 days.

White blood cells (WBC)

White blood cells or leukocytes are involved in providing immunity. White blood cells protect us from infectious and foreign organisms. White blood cells are present in the blood and lymphatic fluid. They do not contain heme, so they are colorless. The white blood cell count varies depending on the type of disease. White blood cells only comprise 1% of total blood compared to red blood cells, which is 40-50%, although this 1% is important for maintaining the body’s normal immune system. If the leukocyte level falls below 1%, then our body is vulnerable to different infections, as in the case of HIV, where the leukocyte count drops to a critical level. White blood cells are of two different types: granulocytes and agranulocytes. Granulocytes are further divided into the following types: neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, mast cells. Agranulocytes are of two types called monocytes and lymphocytes. All white blood cells contain nuclei, they are shaped according to their function. They are produced in the bone marrow but have the ability to multiply to destroy foreign invaders. Their life expectancy varies between hours and days, except for lymphocytes that can survive up to weeks or years.

Key differences

  1. The main function of red blood cells is to supply oxygen to the body’s tissues, while white blood cells provide immunity and maintain the body’s natural immune system.
  2. In the blood, there are more than 5 million red blood cells, while the white blood cells are only 4000-11000 in the same amount of blood.
  3. Red blood cells are biconcave in shape and enucleated, while white blood cells are irregular in shape and contain nuclei.
  4. The red color of red blood cells is due to heme. White blood cells do not have heme.
  5. Red blood cells are flexible and easily deformable, which helps them pass through the smallest vessels, while white blood cells cannot change their shape.
  6. The decrease in the red blood cell count leads to anemia, while the decrease in the white blood cell count leads to an increased risk of infections.

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