Simultaneous measurement of reticulocyte and red blood cell indices in healthy subjects and patients with microcytic and macrocytic anemia.Blood 1995; 85(3):818-23Blood
Using the new Bayer H*3 hematology analyzer (Leverkusen, Germany), we have determined red blood cell and reticulocyte indices in 64 healthy subjects, in patients with microcytosis due to iron deficiency (58 patients) and heterozygous beta-thalassemia (40 patients), and in patients with macrocytosis (28 patients). We found in all cases that reticulocytes were larger than mature red cells by 24% to 35%, with a hemoglobin concentration 16% to 25% lower and a similar hemoglobin content. The correlation between red cell and reticulocyte indices was strikingly tight (r = .928 for volume, r = .929 for hemoglobin concentration, r = .972 for hemoglobin content) in all four groups, regardless of red blood cell size. The ratio of reticulocyte to red blood cell mean corpuscolar volume (MCV ratio) was constantly above 1. Inversion of the MCV ratio was observed only in four patients. It was always abrupt and transitory and was associated with erythropoietic changes leading to the production of red blood cells of a different volume (treatment of megaloblastic anemia, functional iron deficiency, bone marrow transplantation). In two cases of marrow transplantation, reticulocyte volume fell during the aplastic phase after conditioning chemotherapy and then rapidly increased up to values higher than before; this production of macroreticulocytes was the earliest sign of engraftment.