The life history of red blood corpuscles has fascinated many investigators. A large amount of literature has accumulated regarding the development of red blood corpuscles, one phase of which concerns cells containing basophilic substance or, when supravitally stained, reticular substance and commonly known as reticulocytes. Since Theobald Smith1 first suggested that these were young cells rather than degenerative forms of the adult red blood cell, an abundant amount of evidence has been presented which indicates clearly that the basophilic substance is a sign of youthfulness.
Some of the evidence that reticulocytes are less mature than nonbasophilic erythrocytes is well founded on multiple observations in states of anemia in which an increase of reticulocytes in the peripheral circulation precedes an increase in nonreticulated erythrocytes. Nevertheless, little information is available concerning the fate of such young cells: the duration of their stay in the circulation, the disposal of the basophilic substance and
HEATH CW, DALAND GA. THE LIFE OF RETICULOCYTES: EXPERIMENTS ON THEIR MATURATION. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1930;46(3):533–551. doi:10.1001/archinte.1930.00140150174015
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