Mean Cell Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC)

MCHC is the mean cell hemoglobin concentration, expressed in g/dL. It can be calculated from the [Hb] and the PCV using the following formula:

MCHC = (Hb PCV) x 100

The normal value for MCHC is about 33%. Red cell populations with values below the reference interval can be termed "hypochromic". This can occur in a strongly regenerative anemia, where an increased population of reticulocytes with low Hb content "pull" the average value down (an increased MCV would be expected under this scenario). Low MCHC can also occur in iron deficiency anemia, where microcytic, hypochromic red cells are produced as a result of the lack of iron to support hemoglobin synthesis.

Values for MCHC significantly above the reference interval are not physiologically possible due to limitations on the solubility of Hb. Sample-related problems of analysis, however, can result in spurious high values. Lipemia or other causes of turbidity in the lysate can cause falsely high [Hb] values, which raises the apparent MCHC. In the latter cases we would provide a CHCM which is optically measured directly from the red blood cells by our hematology analyzer. Red cells from animals of the Camillidae family (camels, llamas, alpacas), however, truly do have higher MCHC(around 40-45 fL) compared to those of common domestic animals. This is possible due to higher solubility of the Hb molecule in these species.
llama Photomicrograph of blood film from
a normal llama. MCHC=45%.

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