Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Red Gold - The Epic Story of Blood Blood Basics: Blood in the Body
Blood Journey Blood History Blood Basics Innovators & Pioneers Education Ask the Experts

Blood in the Body

Blood Plasma

Test tubes with plasma and red cells.Human blood is a highly complex substance. Its major components are red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues; white blood cells, which have major roles in disease prevention and immunity; and platelets, which are key elements in the blood clotting process. These blood elements are suspended in blood plasma, a yellowish liquid that comprises about 55% of human blood.

Video Clip.Plasma is the transporting medium for a myriad of hormones, electrolytes, sugars, waste products, and other substances. It is especially useful in transfusion medicine, as it provides the starting material for the preparation of critical blood-clotting factors, albumin and immune protein preparations. The clotting factor concentrates, prepared from large batches of pooled plasma, provide life-saving treatment for blood clotting disorders such as hemophilia.

-- Richard J. Davey, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
New York Blood Center

Print this page
E-mail this page
Choose another subject:
Read Articles on: Blood in the Body

The Circulatory System

Blood Vessels

What Is Blood Made Of?

Blood Plasma

How Is Blood Produced?

Blood Groups and Typing

Blood and the Treatment of Disease

Pledge About the Series Resources Glossary Sitemap 56k T1