Blood and components of blood

How do I go about identifying the various components of blood?

  1. Blood consists of how many components?
  2. Name them.
  3. Describe each.
  4. What is the function of each component?
  5. How would each component of blood appear under the light microscope?
  6. How would each component of blood appear under the electron microscope?
  7. What is the relative sizes of each component? (what is used as measurement?)

You have to look at each of the following, in order and without skipping a step. If you skip a step and not do a complete evaluation at each step, you will get the wrong answer. You will have diagnosed your patient dead.

  1. Nucleus
    1. Is there a nucleus? No – move on, it is not a white blood cell.
    2. If there is a nucleus, what is the shape of the nucleus?
  2. Cytoplasm
    1. Can I see cytoplasm?
    2. How much cytoplasm is visible, relative to the overall cell?
  3. Granules
    1. Can I see granules?
    2. How did the granules stain?
      1. Similar to the nucleus?
      2. Similar to the red blood cells?
  4. Size
    1. Big?
    2. Small?
    3. Medium?
    4. Relative to what?

For each of these steps, one or more of the five alternatives will receive a vote. At the end, one of the five possible white blood cells will have started to differentiate from the others. This is most likely the correct answer. It is important to keep in mind the variety of cells. If you follow this strict path, the alternatives will stand out, and can then be evaluated on their own.

Differential Count Diagram

Diagram of white blood cell characteristics. Blue arches indicate possible conflicts.

Red blood cells can be viewed using a light microscope, or electron microscope.

  1. Make a line drawing of a red blood cell viewed from the top, using a light microscope.
  2. Make a line drawing of a red blood cell viewed from the side, using a light microscope.
  3. Make a line drawing of a red blood cell viewed using a transmission electron microscope.

Platelets are involved with blood clotting. What would they look like under a light and electron microscope?

Which eight component was not dealt with? Why not?


If you have just read through the material above, good! You now have an idea of what to look for when studying the components of blood. To revise, take a pen and paper, and answer each question above, WITHOUT looking at the answers. Then evaluate your answers as you continue. Also formulate your own questions from the information above. The questions need not be very elaborate. But write them out, and answer them on a separate sheet. By writing the answers.

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