The erythrocytes shown here represent what the pediatricians call the mothball syndrome. It is associated with G6PD deficiency. The red cell distortion follows the ingestion of a hemolytic toxic agent, such as naphthalene, which is contained in mothballs. Heinz bodies, precipitated hemoglobin, are formed. They then are removed by the spleen, by pitting, leaving the membrane intact without loss of the remaining hemoglobin. The hemoglobin is contracted to one side of the cell. A few mothball cells may be observed in the blood of G6PD-deficient adults who have a hemolytic anemia caused by a toxic substance.
Course Section: 01. Description of Red Blood Cells
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