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70 CHAPTER 18: THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM: BLOOD Chapter Overview Introduction In the previous chapters we have seen the major ways that the body sends information. Beginning with this section Saladin explains how materials are transported: respiratory gases, nutrients, wastes, hormones and others. The blood is made up of cells and cell-like material as well as plasma. The most abundant of the cells are the biconcave erythrocytes, which contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin’s properties along with the red blood cells’ size, morphology, and concentration are a key part of mammalian success as endothermic creatures. Without our efficient movement of oxygen, there would be no way that we could provide sufficient oxygen for our heating and cooling mechanisms. There is considerable unity in the functions of the plasma on the one hand and the formed elements on the other since certain plasma proteins play roles in fighting infections just as the leukocytes do. The platelets are one of the essential parts of hemostasis just as are the blood clotting factors in the plasma. Key Concepts Here are some concepts that students should have a better understanding of after reading this chapter: the overall functions of the blood in brief; a description of each of the formed elements, its activities, and its normal concentration; formation and destruction of erythrocytes including iron metabolism and factors affecting red blood cell counts; diseases related to red blood cells; the constituents of plasma and their roles including specific blood protein types; the importance of homeostasis in blood viscosity; the consequences of protein concentration and blood osmolarity; ABO, Rh, and other blood groupings; leukocyte and platelet production; disorders that affect the leukocyte count; the detailed mechanisms of hemostasis: vascular spasm, platelet plug formation, and coagulation; the destruction of blood clots and the management of blood clotting; and coagulation diseases such as hemophilia and thrombocytopenia. Topics for Discussion 1. The use of anticoagulants to treat heart disease is a very important topic. 2. Some students may be interested in checking into the pharmacology of anticoagulants (i.e., “blood thinners”) and clot busters. The Physicians’ desk reference is excellent as a starting place. 3. As Professor Saladin explains, there are several other blood typing factors besides ABO and Rh. These include MN, Lutheran, and Duffy factor. Have students research the challenges these other factors present. 4. Blood type frequencies among relatively isolated ethnic groups (e.g., Pacific islanders) can provide clues to the group they are most closely related to. A good genetics text will provide some examples. 5.
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course BIO 102 taught by Professor William during the Spring '11 term at Harvard.

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