Why do red blood cells look paler in the central part of the cell when viewed under the microscope?

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2011-08-26 14:30:40

Red blood cells are thicker on the edges and thinner in the

center, consequently they look paler in the center when viewed

under a microscope. This somewhat odd cross-sectional shape is

beneficial to the cells and allows them to deform more easily to

pass through capillaries that have a narrower diameter than the

un-deformed red blood cell so that the cell can move through the

capillary delivering its load of oxygen and picking up the waste

CO2 from the cells along the capillary.

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