When does the spleen produce red blood cells?

The spleen is one of the main filters of the blood. Not only do the reticular cells remove the old and worn-out blood cells, but they will also remove any abnormal cells. This applies in particular to red blood cells, but white cells and platelets are also filtered selectively by the spleen when it is necessary.

The spleen will also remove abnormal particles that are floating in the bloodstream. It therefore plays a very important part in ridding the body of harmful bacteria.

In some circumstances the spleen has a major role in the manufacture of new red blood cells. This does not happen in the normal adult, but in people who have a bone marrow disease. The spleen and liver are major sites of red blood cell production. Another function of the spleen is to manufacture a great deal of the blood of a foetus while it is in the uterus during its period of gestation.

Fact File:

The spleen is situated in the top left-hand corner of the abdomen, just below the diaphragm. It is in a relatively exposed position, which is why it is frequently damaged in accidents and has to be removed.


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