Centrosomes are microtubule organising centres- their function is to facilitate cell division.

RBCs don't undergo division. They are produced via hematopoeisis in the bone marrow. It doesn't even have a nucleus, hence there is no use for centrosomes in mature RBCs and they probably don't have it.

I couldn't find any paper indicating this point. Is that true?


I was aware that mature red blood cells (RBCs) lose their nucleus, ER and Golgi apparatus. However, I wasn't sure about the centrosome! Centrosomes, being MTOCs (microtubule organising centers), have known functions beyond those in cell division. Some are cell type specific! So be wary of thinking that all cells that do not undergo mitosis lack centrosomes. I find it flawed to reason along the lines of

mature RBCs are anucleated cells =  no nucleus = no nuclear membrane = no mitosis = no mitotic spindle = no centrosomes

After a little research, I've found the following unreferenced statement in this opinion piece by Rieder, Faruki & Khodjakov from 2001 in Trends in Cell Biology:

In some cells such as megakaryocytes, myocytes and red blood cells of higher animals, the centrosome degenerates. As a rule, however, such cells are terminally differentiated and no longer capable of entering the mitotic cycle.

If somebody finds a concrete example (or better yet, image!), that would be more convincing than an opinion piece.


As Wikipedia page for Centrosomes says-

Centrosomes are associated with the nuclear membrane during the prophase stage of the cell cycle. During mitosis, the nuclear membrane breaks down, and the centrosome-nucleated microtubules can interact with the chromosomes to build the mitotic spindle.

Since RBCs do not have a nucleus, so no nuclear membrane and no centrosome.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please see my answer, unfortunately I find this answer very incomplete and unconvincing! $\endgroup$
    – S Pr
    Jul 6 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ Strongly agree — also by this logic male mammals lack nipples ... $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Jul 6 at 18:22

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