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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Red Blood Cell (RBC) Morphology. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Red Blood Cell (RBC) Morphology (online CE course)

Acanthocytes have 3-20 thorn-like projections (often with knobby ends) irregularly spaced around the cell. Since these cells have lost their discoid shape, they are frequently smaller than normal and have little or no central pallor. Abetalipoproteinemia (hereditary acanthocytosis), a rare condition, can present with a large percentage of acanthocytes, 50-100% of circulating red cells. Acanthocytes are indicated by the arrows in the image on the right.