Do Red blood cells have mitochondria? 5 Facts You should Know

Red blood cells are biconcave in shape they are also known as erythrocytes. Let us look into the details of the components of red blood cells in details below.

Red blood cells do not contain mitochondria or any other membrane bound organelles such as nucleus, ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, etc. They are completely devoid of the cell organelles to make more space inside the cells for hemoglobin incorporation.

Red Blood cells image from Wikipedia

The lack of membrane bound organelles inside the red blood cells serves as an advantage for their function and survival. It makes the red blood cells to easily pass through the narrow vessels and to carry the oxygen.

Let us discuss why red blood cells lack mitochondria, how they get energy without mitochondria, how do red blood cells survive without mitochondria, if immature red blood cells have mitochondria and many other related questions in this article.

Why do red blood cells not have mitochondria?

Red blood cells play a significant role in various activities even being devoid of mitochondria. Let us discuss in detail why red blood cells lacks mitochondria.

Red blood cells do not carry any mitochondria or other organelles as they are involved in transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide with the help of a protein called hemoglobin in all the body parts. Red blood cells have been designed like this in order to incorporate more hemoglobin.

How do red blood cells get energy without mitochondria?

Red blood cells acquire their energy by using alternate ways in the absence of mitochondria. Let us look into the details of it.

Red blood cells get energy without mitochondria by the process of glycolysis which convert glucose to lactate in the absence of oxygen. After maturation, red blood cells lose their nuclei for the incorporation of more hemoglobin.

Red blood cells require minimum energy to function as compared to other cells containing mitochondria. The process of glycolysis produces two molecules of pyruvate, ATP, NADH and water. This process occurs in the cytoplasm of red blood cells.

Glycolysis process in Red Blood cells Image from Wikipedia

Do immature red blood cells have mitochondria?

Red blood cells which are slightly immature are known as reticulocytes. Let us discuss if immature red blood cells or reticulocytes possess mitochondria with them or not.

Reticulocytes or immature red blood cells do not contain a mitochondrion or any other organelle found in the normal cells such as nucleus, Golgi, ribosomes, etc. This is in order for the red blood cells to help in transporting oxygen from lungs to all parts of the body effectively.

Do mammalian red blood cells have mitochondria?

Mammals and other vertebrates consist of red blood cells which performs the same function in all. Let us discuss if mammalian red blood cells contain mitochondria.

Mammalian red blood cells do not have a mitochondrion. All the animals such as vertebrates which includes mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish contains red blood cells without any mitochondria and other cellular organelles.

Do red blood cells have abundant mitochondria?

Red blood cells are abundantly present in all the animals and perform vital functions for cell survival. Let us see if red blood cells have abundant mitochondria.

Red blood cells do not have even a single mitochondrion and other types of membrane bound organelles. Instead of mitochondria, red blood cells contain abundant cytoplasm filled with hemoglobin.


To conclude the article, we can say that red blood cells do not contain any mitochondria, nucleus and other membrane bound organelles. Red blood cells are filled with cytoplasm which consists of hemoglobin protein which helps in carrying the oxygen and delivering it to all the body parts.

Sneha Sah

Hey! I am Sneha Sah, I have completed post graduation in Biotechnology. Science has always been fascinating to me and writing is my passion. As an academic writer my aim is to make Science easy and simple to learn and read. Reach me at-

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