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Article
April 21, 1934

THE LONGEVITY OF THE ERYTHROCYTE

JAMA. 1934;102(16):1304. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750160038015
Abstract

"Without doubt, the red corpuscles have, like all other parts of the organism, a tolerably definite term of existence, and in a like manner die and waste away when the portion of work allotted to them has been performed."1 This is a characteristic textbook statement that recognizes a "birth and decay" of the erythrocytes without formulating the details, which would be extremely interesting. How long do the colored corpuscles survive before they disintegrate? Unfortunately, one cannot earmark an erythrocyte and follow its fate in the circulation or in some secluded organ. Several indirect methods of estimating the longevity of the red cells have been applied experimentally. One of these has been to note the output of a bile pigment, bilirubin, a derivative of hemoglobin, as an index of erythrocyte destruction. The inadequacy of this plan has been discussed by several competent observers. Various factors are known to affect independently

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