20 Difference Between Red Blood Cells And White Blood Cells (With Pictures)

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Key Difference

Description

Red Blood Cells also referred to as erythrocytes store the hemoglobin (a protein molecule that binds to oxygen or carbon dioxide molecules). Hemoglobin helps to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and organs of human body. It also takes carbon dioxide from tissues and organs to the lungs.

White Blood Cells also referred to as Leukocytes act as a defense agents against any infections in the human body. The white blood cell is able to do this by producing a special kind of protein known as antibody which recognizes and fights against the foreign entities invading the human body.

Volume in Blood

Red blood cells account for between 40 to 45% of the total volume of blood, though this depends on sex, height and weight. On the contrary, white blood cells account for only 1% of total volume of blood.

Types

There is only one type of red blood cells found in the blood whereas; there are five different types of white blood cells found in the blood, that is; Granulocytes, Eosinophils, Neutrophils, Basophils and Agranulocytes.

Lifespan

Red and white blood cells live within the body for different lengths of time. Red blood cells have a longer lifespan than white blood cells. Red blood cells have an average lifespan of 120 days whereas, white blood cells depending on the body has a lifespan of between 5 and 21 days.

Composition

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin while white blood cells contain antigens.

Number Per Cubic Millimeter 

Red blood cells are quite numerous than white blood cells in a healthy bloodstream. Red blood cells’ population is around 5 million per cubic millimeter of blood while white blood cells are about 3000-7000 per cubic millimeter of blood.

Circulation

Red blood cells only circulate inside blood vessels whereas, white blood cells are capable of coming out from blood vessels into connective tissues and lymphatic system.

Production

90% of all blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, which is the soft, sponge-like material in the center of the bone. Red blood cells are produced in red bone marrow while most of the white blood cells are produced in lymph nodes, liver, spleen etc.

Process of Formation

The process of red blood cells formation is referred to as Erythropoiesis while the process of white blood cell formation is known as Leucopoiesis.

Increase in Number

The numbers of red blood cells increase in the body during exercise and when one is at high altitudes. On the other hand, the numbers of white blood cells in the body increase during infection, as a response to infection.

Circulatory System

The red blood cells move between the cardiovascular systems whereas the white blood cells move between the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems.

Effects of Low Count

Low count of red blood cells results in anaemia whereas the low count of white blood cells results in Leukopenia.

Motility

Motility is the ability of to move independently, by use of metabolic energy. Red blood cells are not motile whereas the white blood cells are sometimes motile.

Color                                                                                                                          

Red blood cells appear red in color due to presence of hemoglobin whereas the white blood cells do not have any pigment in their structure and therefore, they appear colorless.

Nucleus

Red blood cells lack nucleus at maturity whereas white blood cells are characterized by the presence of a large central nucleus.

Shape

The red blood cells are circular, biconcave disc-shaped. White blood cells on the contrary, are usually rounded in shape, but sometimes they are irregular-shaped or amoeboid.

Rouleaux Formation

Rouleaux are stacks or aggregations of red blood cells (RBCs) which form because of the unique discoid shape of the cells in vertebrates. The flat surface of the discoid RBCs gives them a large surface area to make contact with and stick to each other thus forming a rouleau. Well when it comes to white blood cells, no rouleaux formation can be found.

Difference Between Red Blood Cell And White Blood Cell In Tabular Form

BASIS OF DIFFERENCE RED BLOOD CELLS WHITE BLOOD CELLS
Description Red Blood Cells also referred to as erythrocytes store the hemoglobin (a protein molecule that binds to oxygen or carbon dioxide molecules). Hemoglobin helps to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and organs of human body. It also takes carbon dioxide from tissues and organs to the lungs.   White Blood Cells also referred to as Leukocytes act as a defense agents against any infections in the human body. The white blood cell is able to do this by producing a special kind of protein known as antibody which recognizes and fights against the foreign entities invading the human body.  
Volume in Blood Account for between 40 to 45% of the total volume of blood   Account for only 1% of total volume of blood.
Types There is only one type of red blood cells found in the blood. There are five different types of white blood cells found in the blood, that is; Granulocytes, Eosinophils, Neutrophils, Basophils and Agranulocytes.  
Lifespan Have an average lifespan of 120 days. Depending on the body, it has a lifespan of between 5 and 21 days.  
Composition Contain Hemoglobin. Contain antigen.  
Number per Cubic Millimeter Red blood cells’ population is around 5 million per cubic millimeter of blood. White blood cells are about 3000-7000 per cubic millimeter of blood.  
Circulation Red blood cells only circulate inside blood vessels. White blood cells are capable of coming out from blood vessels into connective tissues and lymphatic system.
Production Red blood cells are produced in red bone marrow. Most of the white blood cells are produced in lymph nodes, liver, spleen etc.  
Process of Formation The process of red blood cells formation is referred to as Erythropoiesis. The process of white blood cell formation is known as Leucopoiesis.  
Increase in Number The numbers of red blood cells increase in the body during exercise and when one is at high altitudes. The numbers of white blood cells in the body increase during infection, as a response to infection.  
Circulatory System The red blood cells move between the cardiovascular systems. The white blood cells move between the cardiovascular and lymphatic system.  
Effects of Low Count Low count of red blood cells results in anaemia. The low count of white blood cells results in Leukopenia.  
Motility Red blood cells are not motile. White blood cells are sometimes motile.  
Color Red blood cells appear red in color due to presence of hemoglobin. The white blood cells do not have any pigment in their structure and therefore, they appear colorless.  
Nucleus Red blood cells lack nucleus at maturity. White blood cells are characterized by the presence of a large central nucleus.  
Shape The red blood cells are circular, biconcave disc-shaped. White blood cells on the contrary, are usually rounded in shape, but sometimes they are irregular-shaped or amoeboid.
Rouleaux Formation In Red blood cells, rouleaux formation is present. In white blood cells, no rouleaux formation can be found.  

What Similarities between red blood cells and White blood cells?

  1. Both form in the bone marrow and come from the same stem cell.
  2. Both have a cell membrane.
  3. Both cells have a high surface area to volume ratio.
  4. The function of both cells is greatly impaired by diseases that damage bone marrow function.

Summary

Red Blood Cells also referred to as erythrocytes store the hemoglobin (a protein molecule that binds to oxygen or carbon dioxide molecules). Hemoglobin helps to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and organs of human body. It also takes carbon dioxide from tissues and organs to the lungs.

White Blood Cells also referred to as Leukocytes act as a defense agents against any infections in the human body. The white blood cell is able to do this by producing a special kind of protein known as antibody which recognizes and fights against the foreign entities invading the human body.