Making up about 1% of all erythrocytes, reticulocytes can only be distinguished by a special stain.  These are the immature red blood cells that appear immediately after the nucleus has been ejected.  Part of the former cytoplasmic apparatus (mitochondria, rough endoplasmic reticulum) that was used to manufacture hemoglobin still persists as fine, dark-staining bodies.

Reticulocytes are a measure of ongoing erythropoiesis.  Their percentage is lower in various deficiency anemias (e.g., iron-deficiency), and is higher in response to increased red cell production.

(Press BACK button on browser to return)


Dr. Sullivan's Departmental Page

Copyright 2001 Dennis Sullivan, MD - All RIGHTS RESERVED

Cedarville University, 251 N. Main Street, Cedarville, OH 45314, USA  1-800-CEDARVILLE

Last updated: July 10, 2001.