|Acanthocytosis is one form of poikilocytosis|
Poikilocytosis is variation in cell shape: poikilocytes may be oval, teardrop-shaped, sickle-shaped or irregularly contracted.
Normal red blood cells are round, flattened disks that are thinner in the middle than at the edges. A poikilocyte is an abnormally shaped cell. Generally, poikilocytosis can refer to an increase in abnormal red blood cells of any shape where they make up 10% or more of the total population.
- Acanthocytes or Spur/Spike cells
- Codocytes or Target cells
- Echinocytes and Burr cells
- Elliptocytes and Ovalocytes
- Stomatocytes or Mouth cells
- Drepanocytes or Sickle Cells
- Degmacytes or "bite cells"
- Dacrocytes or Teardrop Cells
- Microspherocytes and Pyropoikilocytes
- Semilunar bodies
Poikilocytosis may be diagnosed during a test called a blood smear. During a blood smear, a doctor spreads a thin layer of blood on a microscope slide and stains the blood to help differentiate the cells. The doctor then views the blood under a microscope, where the sizes and shapes of the RBCs can be seen.
In all cases, the treatment of poikilocytosis depends on its cause. For example, poikilocytosis can be caused by a vitamin deficiency (e.g. vitamin B12, folic acid), in which case the treatment is to replenish the deficient vitamin. It can be caused by a digestive disease, such as celiac disease, in which case the solution may lie in treating the underlying celiac disease so that nutrients can be properly absorbed.