Anisocytosis: definition, symptoms and treatments

Anisocytosis is a term for a blood abnormality. We speak of anisocytosis when there is a difference in size between several blood cells of the same cell line, such as red blood cells (erythrocyte anisocytosis) and platelets (platelet anisocytosis).

 What is anisocytosis

Anisocytosis is a term used in hematology when there is a size abnormality between blood cells of the same cell line such as:

  • red blood cells , also called red blood cells or erythrocytes;
  • blood platelets , also called thrombocytes.

 What are the different types of anisocytosis?

It is possible to distinguish several anisocytoses depending on the cell line concerned:

  • erythrocyte anisocytosis when the abnormality involves erythrocytes (red blood cells);
  • platelet anisocytosis , sometimes called thrombocytic anisocytosis, when the abnormality involves thrombocytes (blood platelets).

Depending on the type of abnormality found, anisocytosis is sometimes defined as:

  • anisocytosis , more often shortened to microcytosis, when the blood cells are abnormally small;
  • aniso-macrocytosis , more often shortened to macrocytosis, when the blood cells are abnormally large.
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 How to detect anisocytosis?

Anisocytosis is a blood abnormality identified during a complete blood count , also called Blood Count and Formula (CBC). Carried out by taking a sample of venous blood, this examination provides a great deal of data on blood cells.

Among the values ​​obtained during a blood count, the red blood cell distribution index (RDI) is also called the anisocytosis index. Making it possible to assess the variability in the size of red blood cells in the bloodstream, this index makes it possible to identify erythrocyte anisocytosis. It is considered normal when it is between 11 and 15%.

 What are the causes of anisocytosis?

Generally speaking, anisocytosis is a term used by doctors to refer to erythrocyte anisocytosis. Regarding red blood cells, this blood abnormality is usually due to anemia , an abnormal drop in the level of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood. This deficiency can cause complications because red blood cells are cells essential for the distribution of oxygen within the body. Present in red blood cells, hemoglobin is a protein capable of binding several molecules of oxygen (O2) and releasing them in cells.

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It is possible to distinguish several types of anemia causing erythrocyte anisocytosis, including:

  • the iron deficiency anemia caused by iron deficiency, which is considered a microcytic anemia because it can lead to aniso-microcytosis with the formation of red blood cells of small size;
  • vitamin deficiency anemia , the most common of which are vitamin B12 deficiency anemia and vitamin B9 deficiency anemia, which are considered macrocytic anemias because they can cause aniso-macrocytosis with the production of red blood cells deformed large.
  • the hemolytic anemia , characterized by a premature destruction of red blood cells, which may be caused by defects or genetic diseases.

Platelet anisocytosis also has a pathological origin. Platelet anisocytosis can in particular be due to myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), which constitute a group of diseases due to dysfunction of the bone marrow.

 What are the symptoms of anisocytosis?

The symptoms of anisocytosis are those of anemia. Although there are different forms and origins of anemia, several characteristic symptoms are frequently observed:

  • a feeling of general fatigue;
  • shortness of breath;
  • palpitations;
  • weakness and dizziness;
  • pallor;
  • headaches.
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 How to treat anisocytosis?

Treatment for anisocytosis depends on the cause of the abnormality. In the event of iron deficiency anemia or vitamin deficiency anemia, nutritional supplementation may for example be recommended to treat anisocytosis.