Recent Studies improve our understanding of how our spleen and liver 'Quality Check' our red blood cells and dispose of them respectively

Recent Studies improve our understanding of how our spleen and liver 'Quality Check' our red blood cells and dispose of them respectively

Our spleen is where our tired old red blood cells have always been considered to be removed from our blood stream and the iron in the haemoglobin recycled. Recent studies have shown that -

1) Our spleen may have a far greater role in controlling the shape/size of our red blood cells and

2) Our livers may be where red blood cell iron in haemoglobin is recycled

Research into how the spleen quality checks our red blood cells, which was led by scientists from MIT and Carnegie Mellon, drew heavily on computer models developed at Brown university, so these three universities have each provided media releases focusing on their respective contributions towards the study:

news.brown.edu/articles/201...

cmu.edu/news/stories/archiv...

And from Hematology Times (free registration)

'A new study contradicts previous beliefs about how the body disposes of red blood cells (RBCs) and recycles their iron.

The work suggests the accumulation and removal of aged or damaged RBCs largely takes place in the liver rather than the spleen, and the same is true for iron recycling.' : hematologytimes.com/p_artic...

Note the research is based on mouse model studies.

This improved understanding of the life cycle of our red blood cells will hopefully result in improved intervention to reduce the impact of anaemia on our quality of life.

Neil

Photo: Funereal Cockatoo recycling a pine cone

3 Replies

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  • Thanks for this, Neil. It's good to know that the liver can do most things without the spleen - seeing as I've lost mine... Maybe the quality of my red blood cells isn't so good, but if it's just a matter of size and shape, rather than function, that's OK...

    Any other folks out there without spleens, who have noticed changes in health since losing it?

    Paula

    P.S. NIce photo, but why is it called a "Funereal Cockatoo"?

  • Given these yellow tailed black cockatoos have a sombre appearance and rather mournful cry and can remind you of undertakers in their black suits, I think the name is appropriate. They are known by other names, but Funereal goes back to over 200 years...

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yello...

  • Thanks for the post Neil - very useful to most of us either now or in the future.

    He is very somber looking isn't he - very apt name. I wonder who named him all those years ago and how it caught on?

    NooNoo

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