Because of the inability of erythrocytes (red blood cells) to divide to replenish their numbers, the old ruptured cells must be replaced by totally new cells. They meet their demise because they don’t have the usual specialized intracellular machinery, which controls cell growth and repair, leading to a short life span of 120 days.
This short life span necessitates the process erythropoiesis, which is the formation of red blood cells. All blood cells are formed in the bone marrow. This is the erythrocyte factory, which is soft, highly cellar tissue that fills the internal cavities of bones.
Erythrocyte differentiation takes place in 8 stages. It is the pathway through which an erythrocyte matures from a hemocytoblast into a full-blown erythrocyte. The first seven all take place within the bone marrow. After stage 7 the cell is then released into the bloodstream as a reticulocyte, where it then matures 1-2 days later into an erythrocyte. The stages are as follows:
- Hemocytoblast, which is a pluripotent hematopoietic stem cell.
- Common myeloid progenitor, a multipotent stem cell.
- Unipotent stem cell.
- Basophilic normoblast also called an erythroblast.
- Polychromatophilic normoblast.
- Orthochromatic normoblast.
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