- Last Update On : 2013-03-17
Reticulocytes are non-nucleated immature red cells in peripheral blood, containing residual RNA. After erythroid precursors lose their nuclei, another 4 days is required for the resulting reticulocytes to mature and lose their RNA. Normally the first 3 days are spent in the marrow, and the last day in peripheral blood. Early reticulocytes continue to synthesize hemoglobin; approximately 25% of total red cell hemoglobin content is produced during this stage of development.
The reticulocyte count is useful as an index of effective red cell production. It is usually expressed as a percentage of total red cells and as an absolute count (number of reticulocytes per uL). The percentage value is falsely elevated in patients with anemia. This bias is overcome by correcting reticulocyte percentage according to the patient’s red cell count using the following formula.
Corrected Reticulocyte Count = Reticulocyte % X Patient’s red