Are there any mitochondria in our red blood cells?

One thing people usually know that human red blood cells do not have cell nuclei, so they are lacking chromosomal DNA. But far less people have a guess about mitochondria’s presence in the erythrocytes. So let’s ask the experts Wikipedia. The answer is NO, mammalian red blood cells also lose their mitochondria during erythropoiesis at phase 3, when normoblasts eject organelles. Functional red blood cells produce energy by fermentation, via anaerobic glycolysis of glucose followed by lactic acid production. As the cells do not own any protein coding DNA they cannot produce new structural or repair proteins or enzymes and their lifespan is limited.

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20 thoughts on “Are there any mitochondria in our red blood cells?

  1. The cell is one of the most basic units of life. There are millions of different types of cells. There are cells that are organisms onto themselves, such as microscopic amoeba and bacteria cells. And there are cells that only function when part of a larger organism, such as the cells that make up your body.

  2. Makes sense that they wouldn’t – after all, most mitochondrial proteins are produced in the nucleus, which means that mitochondria in a cell without a nucleus would be unable to function and thereby be pretty useless.

  3. I did not know that mammalian red blood cells also lose their mitochondria during erythropoiesis. This is good info about the composition of red blood cells.

  4. RBC’s do NOT have mitochondria. They consume ATP aerobically so that they do not consume the oxygen they are carrying.

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