The Physiologic Role of Erythrocytes in Oxygen Delivery and Implications for Blood Storage

Penelope S. Benedik, Shannan K. Hamlin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Erythrocytes are not just oxygen delivery devices but play an active metabolic role in modulating microvascular blood flow. Hemoglobin and red blood cell morphology change as local oxygen levels fall, eliciting the release of adenosine triphosphate and nitric oxide to initiate local vasodilation. Aged erythrocytes undergo physical and functional changes such that some of the red cell's most physiologically helpful attributes are diminished. This article reviews the functional anatomy and applied physiology of the erythrocyte and the microcirculation with an emphasis on how erythrocytes modulate microvascular function. The effects of cell storage on the metabolic functions of the erythrocyte are also briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Care Nursing Clinics of North America
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • Hemoglobin
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxygen transport
  • Red blood cell
  • Storage lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care

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