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This scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image revealed some of the comparative ultrastructure between normal red blood cells (RBCs), and a sickle cell RBC (left) found in a blood specimen of an 18-year-old female patient with sickle cell anemia, (HbSS). People who have this form of sickle cell disease, inherit two sickle cell genes (S), one from each parent. HbSS is usually the most severe form of the disease. See PHIL 11690 for a colorized version of this image. Sickle cell disease encompasses a group of inherited RBC disorders. Healthy RBCs are round, and move smoothly through blood vessels. In sickle cell disease, the RBCs become hard, and sticky, and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a sickle. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of RBCs. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems.
High Resolution: Click here for hi-resolution image (3.12 MB)
Content Providers(s):CDC/ Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia: Jackie George, Beverly Sinclair
Creation Date:2009
Photo Credit:Janice Haney Carr
Links:Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, Inc.
CDC Organization
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Copyright Restrictions:None - This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy we request that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of this image.