Difference Between Red and White Blood Cells

Blood is essential for human beings. It represents almost 8% of body weight. It is made up of plasma and different types of cells, but two of the most important types of blood cells are red blood cells and white blood cells. Difference Between Red and White Blood Cells

If you are wondering what the difference is between the two, read on; because then we explain what it is.

RED BLOOD CELLS Difference Between Red and White Blood Cells

Red blood cells, also called Erythrocytes, are the most abundant cells in our blood.

Its shape is small and biconcave. They have this structure due to the lack of nucleus and other organelles, but that is in the case of mammals; since those of the other vertebrates such as fish, reptiles and birds; they do contain inactive nuclei filled with hemoglobin (the pigment that carries oxygen).

Erythrocytes have the ability to pass through small capillaries. They carry oxygen to the tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide in the tissues.

Red blood cells are detached from the bone marrow (from there they originate) and remain in circulation with a lifespan of approximately 120 days.


On the other hand, leukocytes or white blood cells are larger than erythrocytes. Unlike red blood cells, they are nucleated cells .

White blood cells are responsible for carrying out the body’s immune functions (they are our defenses against disease). They are made up of granulocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes.

Compared to red blood cells, leukocytes are much lower in number, but when fighting infections; the body tends to increase the number of them. Granulocytes and lymphocytes struggle n against the bacteria and viruses . White blood cells are also responsible for producing antibodies to fight against any foreign element.

Like Erythrocytes, they are also produced in the bone marrow. However, they can occur in the spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes.

In conclusion, white blood cells and red blood cells are very different from each other. They differ in their structure, composition and functions. Red blood cells do not contain any nuclei, unlike leukocytes. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin and release oxygen into tissues. On the other hand, white blood cells perform tasks related to immunity. Erythrocytes are red in color thanks to the presence of hemoglobin, while leukocytes are colorless.

Key differences 

  • The physical structure of red blood cells (Erythrocytes) is that of biconcave discs and without a nucleus in mammals, while white blood cells (leukocytes) have an irregular shape, nucleus and an outer shell in mammals.
  • The lifespan of red blood cells is usually 120 days; while that of leococytes can go from 4 to 30 days, depending on the body.
  • Low red blood cell count is synonymous with anemia (the body’s ability to transport oxygen to tissues is reduced), while low white blood cell count (leukopenia) can compromise immune functions.
  • The main function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen, while that of white blood cells is to provide protection against foreign matter and organisms.
  • There is only one type of red blood cell, while there are several types of white blood cell: granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes.
  • Red blood cells represent 40-45% of the volume of the blood, while white blood cells represent only 1% of the blood volume.
  • Red blood cells generally move in the cardiovascular system, while white blood cells walk in the lymphatic cardiovascular system. Some in the lymph nodes and leak out of the blood vessels and travel to the sites where there are infections or wounds.

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