3. Red Blood Cell Biochemistry and Physiology

  1. Alvin H. Schmaier MD and
  2. Hillard M. Lazarus MD, FACP
  1. Kevin T. McDonagh MD

Published Online: 22 SEP 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444345254.ch3

Concise Guide to Hematology

Concise Guide to Hematology

How to Cite

McDonagh, K. T. (2011) Red Blood Cell Biochemistry and Physiology, in Concise Guide to Hematology (eds A. H. Schmaier and H. M. Lazarus), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444345254.ch3

Editor Information

  1. Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA

Author Information

  1. Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 22 SEP 2011
  2. Published Print: 4 NOV 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405196666

Online ISBN: 9781444345254



  • red blood cell (RBC);
  • erythropoietin (EPO);
  • hemoglobin (Hb);
  • red blood cell cytoskeleton;
  • 2,3-diphosphoglycerate 2,3-DPG, oxyhemoglobin dissociation curv, glycolysis;
  • glutathione;
  • Embden–Meyerhof pathway;
  • hexose monophosphate shunt;
  • methemoglobin reduction pathway


This chapter examines the biochemistry and physiology of the red blood cells. It describes the development of the mature red blood cell through the process of hematopoiesis and the structure of hemoglobin. It also characterizes the structure of the red cell membrane indicating those critically important in red cell function. Finally it describes the intracellular metabolic pathways of red blood cells and how they produce energy for their activities.