Circulatory System – Blood (Part 1 of 4)

The Circulatory System is made up of 4 parts:
1. Blood
2. Blood Vessels
3. Heart
4. Lymphatic System

1. BLOOD
Blood is the only liquid connective tissue in the body.

Human adults have 4.7 liters of blood in their bodies.

Blood has roles in transport, regulation and protection.
– It transports oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, hormones, heat and waste.
– It is involved in the regulation of body temperature, PH and the water content of cells.
– The body is protected from blood loss through clotting and against disease by PHAGOCYTIC WHITE BLOOD CELLS and ANTIBODIES.

PLASMA
– Plasma makes up 55% of the blood.
– It is a clear; straw-colored liquid, which is mostly water.
– It is the bloods SOLVENT (able to dissolve substances).
– It transports nutrients, waste products of metabolism, respiratory gases and hormones.
– There are 3 main PLASMA PROTEINS:
1. ALBUMIN
– Is the smallest and most numerous protein.
– It helps recover water that has been lost.
– It transports some of the steroid hormones.
2. IMMUNOGOBULIN (antibodies)
– Aids the immune system by attacking bacteria and viruses.
– Other globulins help in the transport of iron, lipids and fat-soluble vitamins.
3. FIBRINOGEN
– It plays an essential role in the clotting of blood, by providing the necessary protein network.
– Various ions act as solutes in plasma; they play key roles in osmotic balance, PH buffering and the regulation of membrane permeability.

BLOOD CELLS
Blood cells make up about 45% of the blood.

There are 3 main types of blood cells:
1. RED BLOOD CELLS (ERYTHROCYTES)
– They transport oxygen to all cells.
– The oxygen-carrying protein HEMOGLOBIN is the pigment that gives blood its red color.
– They are the simplest cells in the body; mature red blood cells lack a nucleus, ribosomes and mitochondria.
– They are also the most numerous cells in the body; 5 million/ml of blood.
– About 2.5 million are made every second in the red bond marrow.
– Mature cells are flattened and disc-shaped with a central depression.
– They are non-reproducing sacks of oxygen binding hemoglobin.
– The hormone, ERYTHROPOIETIN, triggers transformation of skin cells in the marrow to produce red blood cells.
– After circulating for 3 to 4 months in the blood, red blood cells are engulfed by liver and spleen SCAVENGER CELLS.

2. WHITE BLOOD CELLS (LEUKOCYTES)
– They contain a nucleus.
– Most live only a few days, although some, particularly LYMPHOCYTES can live for several months or longer.
– During infections white blood cells may only live for a few hours.
– The shape of their nuclei and the staining properties of their granules distinguish white blood cells from each other.
– The number and type of white blood cells can indicate a person’s health. Most infections stimulate an increase in circulating white blood cells.
– There are 5 classes of white blood cells:
1. NEUTROPHILS and 2.MACROPHAGES
– Are active in PHAGOCYTOSIS (the engulfing of particles by phagocytes); ingesting bacteria and cellular debris.
– Certain chemicals released by bacteria and inflamed tissue attract the white blood cells to the site.
– After engulfing the bacteria, neutrophils lysozymes are released that destroy the bacteria.
– Strong oxidants are then released, like peroxide and proteins called DEFENSINS that have antibiotic activity.
– Monocytes arrive after the neutrophils and enlarge to become macrophages, which clean up cellular debris and bacteria after an infection.
3. EOSINOPHILS
– They enter tissue fluid from the capillaries and release enzymes to combat allergic reactions.
4. BASOPHILS
– Intensify the inflammatory response when they enter the tissue from the capillaries.
5. LYMPHOCYTES
– They are the major combatants in the immune response.
– They are the B-CELLS, T-CELLS and the natural killer cells.
– These cells are active in fighting infections caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi.
– They are also responsible for transfusion reactions, allergies and the rejection of transplanted organs.

3. PLATELETS
– They are the small cell-like fragments that come from special white blood cells, called MEGAKARYOCYTES.
– They have no nucleus and live for about 5 to 9 days.
– Aged and dead platelets are removed by macrophages in the liver and spleen.
– Platelets release chemicals in blood clotting.

BLOOD TYPE
Humans have highly individualized blood that is credited to proteins and other genetically determined factors located on the surface of red blood cells and the plasma bathing the red blood cells.

The main types of blood are A, B, AB, and O.

Transfusions of blood are possible only when the blood types of the donor and recipient are compatible.

If the blood types are not compatible, proteins in the plasma will recognize foreign antigens and respond by causing the cells to AGGLUTINATE (clump) which will block the small vessels.

Type AB is considered the UNIVERSAL RECIEPENT (this person can receive blood from any type in the ABO blood group).

Type O is considered the UNIVERSAL DONOR (this type of blood can be given to any blood type in the ABO blood group).

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