The difference between RBC and WBC is mainly due to the following properties like:
Colour: As the name, red blood cell and white blood cell itself clears the colour difference, but the reason behind the red colour of RBC is due to the iron atom present in the haemoglobin pigment. The white blood cells are colourless because of the reason that these lacks any coloured pigment.
Morphology: The structure of red blood and white blood cell have a characteristic shape. Red blood cells resemble a shallow bowl by having flattened centre and elevated margin. White blood cells look like the amoeboid cells by having an irregular margin.
Function: Both red blood and white blood cells belong to the circulatory system where one facilitates the gaseous exchange between the cardiovascular system and the other provides resistance against the infection and pathogen attack.
Content: RBC Vs WBC
|Stands for||Red Blood Cell||White Blood Cell|
|Shape||Biconcave, disc-like||Irregular, amoeboid-like|
|Diameter||7.5 µm||15 µm|
|Colour||Red coloured due to haemoglobin pigment||Colourless and does not contain such pigment molecules|
|Method of production||Erythropoiesis||Leucopoiesis|
|Regulatory hormone||Erythropoietin hormone||Leucopoietin hormone|
|Origination||Bone marrow||Bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen etc.|
|Life span||100-120 days||12-20 days|
|Constitution in blood||36-50%||Around 1%|
|Circulatory movement||Moves between the cardiovascular system||Moves between the cardiovascular and lymphatic system|
|Cell count/µl of blood||4.7-6.1 million/µl||4500-11000/µl|
|When cell count increases||Leads to Polycythaemia||Leads to Leukocytosis|
|When cell count decreases||Leads to anemia||Leads to Leukopenia|
|Measurement||Can be measured by using haemocytometer via RBC pipette||Can be measured by using haemocytometer via WBC pipette|
|Number increments||Cell count of RBCs increases by the uptake of iron-rich food, doing exercise etc.||Cell count of WBCs increases by any kind of foreign attack|
|Types||It has no subtypes||These are of five kinds: neutrophil, eosinophil, basophil, lymphocytes and monocytes|
|Functional role||Helps in circulation of oxygenated blood and nutrients throughout the body||Provides protection against the pathogens and removes the infected cells via phagocytosis|
Definition of RBC
RBC is an abbreviation of the term “Red Blood Cell”. It can define as the component of blood and a type of blood cells that originate from the bone marrow, attains maturity for at least seven days and finally releases into the bloodstream for the transportation of O2 and CO2 into and out of the body. The formation of red blood cells are regulated by a hormone “Erythropoietin” produced primarily by the juxtaglomerular cells of the kidney and the process refers as “Erythropoiesis”.
An immature RBCs commonly refers to as “Reticulocytes”, and a mature RBCs refers as “Erythrocytes”. A structure of mature RBC lacks a nucleus and other cell organelles like ribosomes, mitochondria etc. and can modify its shape. By the movement of red blood cells in the bloodstream, it can flexibly pass through the small blood vessels and capillaries.
It also refers as “Red cells” because of its red colour that is due to the presence of protein pigment “Haemoglobin”. Haemoglobin is an oxygen-carrying pigment, which contains four iron atoms that will bind to the four oxygen molecules. Therefore, haemoglobin is the major component of red blood cell that not only imparts a red colour but also facilitates the transportation of oxygenated blood from the lungs to the other body parts and carbon dioxide from the other body parts back into the lungs.
Mutation in the haemoglobin gene can cause abnormal disease like sickle cell anaemia, where the oval shape of RBCs changes to sickle-like. The volume of RBC measures in terms of a unit called “Haematocrit” and the method of determining RBC ratio in the blood known as “Haematocrit test”. The process of maintaining a concentration of RBCs in the blood commonly refers to as “Homeostasis”, where the degradation and production occur at the same rate.
Definition of WBC
WBC is an abbreviation of the term “White Blood Cell”. It can define as the component of blood and a type of blood cells that also originate from the bone marrow and then matures in the organs like lymph nodes, spleen and thymus gland. The production of white blood cells are regulated by a hormone “Leucopoietin” that stimulate the production of myeloid cells, and the process refers to as “Leucopoiesis”.
Based on cell lineage, leukocytes classify into myeloid and lymphoid cells. A myeloid stem cell produces monocytes and myelocytes (Neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils), while a lymphoid stem cell produces lymphocytes.
Similarly, based on the presence of specific cytoplasmic granules, leukocytes classify into granulocytes and agranulocytes. The granulocytes involve neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils that comprises of distinct granules in their cytoplasm. In contrast, non-granulocytes include monocytes and lymphocytes, which consist of non-distinct or non-functional granules.
Neutrophils: These are the phagocytic cells that activate against acute infection appeared due to bacterial and fungal attack.
Eosinophil: These stimulate in counter to any parasitic infections.
Basophils: These cells mainly activate against some allergic reactions, especially in the case of type-1 hypersensitivity.
Monocytes: It primarily presents the antigenic fragments to the T-cell and activates against the chronic infection.
Lymphocytes: These are of two kinds, where the B-lymphocytes produce antibodies to neutralize the antigenicity or blocks the pathogen invasion and T-lymphocytes activates in counter to the viral and chronic infection.
Key Differences Between RBC and WBC
- Erythrocytes, red cells or red blood corpuscles are the alternative names for RBC, and leukocytes, white cells or white blood corpuscles are the alternative names for WBC.
- The diameter or size of the RBCs is much smaller (7.5 µm) comparative to the width of WBCs (15 µm).
- A structure of RBC lacks nucleus or “Anucleated”, where WBC contains a distinct nucleus or “Nucleated”.
- The RBCs have a life span of about 100-120 days whereas WBCs have a life span of about 12-20 days.
- Red blood cells constitute about 36-50% of the total blood, while white blood cells make about 1% of the total blood.
- The circulatory movement of RBC is between the cardiovascular system, whereas WBC moves between the cardiovascular and lymphatic system.
- A normal range of RBC in per microliter of blood sample is between 4.7-6.1 million and when the cell count increases and decreases, it turns into a medical condition known as Polycythaemia and Anaemia respectively. A normal range of WBC in per microliter of blood sample is between 4500-11,000 and when the cell count increases and decreases, it turns into a medical condition known as Leukocytosis and Leukopenia respectively.
- Both RBC and WBC are the kinds of blood cells that are the universal constituents of blood.
- Haematocrit test is a complete blood count test that can measure the cell concentration of RBC (represented as haematocrit) and the concentration of WBC (represented by the Buffy layer).
- Both are the kind of blood cells produced by the haematopoietic stem cells, and the process commonly refers as haematopoiesis.
- The cell number of both red blood and white blood cells can be determined by using a Neubauer counting chamber or haemocytometer under the microscope.
Therefore, we can conclude that RBC and WBC being a part of the circulatory system performs distinct functions to boost up the body’s immunity and metabolism.