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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the principles of oxygen transport
  • Describe the structure of hemoglobin
  • Compare and contrast fetal and adult hemoglobin
  • Describe the principles of carbon dioxide transport

The other major activity in the lungs is the process of respiration, the process of gas exchange. The function of respiration is to provide oxygen for use by body cells during cellular respiration and to eliminate carbon dioxide, a waste product of cellular respiration, from the body. In order for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to occur, both gases must be transported between the external and internal respiration sites. Although carbon dioxide is more soluble than oxygen in blood, both gases require a specialized transport system for the majority of the gas molecules to be moved between the lungs and other tissues.

Oxygen transport in the blood

Even though oxygen is transported via the blood, you may recall that oxygen is not very soluble in liquids. A small amount of oxygen does dissolve in the blood and is transported in the bloodstream, but it is only about 1.5% of the total amount. The majority of oxygen molecules are carried from the lungs to the body’s tissues by a specialized transport system, which relies on the erythrocyte—the red blood cell. Erythrocytes contain a metalloprotein, hemoglobin, which serves to bind oxygen molecules to the erythrocyte ( [link] ). Heme is the portion of hemoglobin that contains iron, and it is heme that binds oxygen. One hemoglobin molecule contains iron-containing Heme molecules, and because of this, each hemoglobin molecule is capable of carrying up to four molecules of oxygen. As oxygen diffuses across the respiratory membrane from the alveolus to the capillary, it also diffuses into the red blood cell and is bound by hemoglobin. The following reversible chemical reaction describes the production of the final product, oxyhemoglobin    (Hb–O 2 ), which is formed when oxygen binds to hemoglobin. Oxyhemoglobin is a bright red-colored molecule that contributes to the bright red color of oxygenated blood.

Hb + O 2 Hb   O 2 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaagyart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiVu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaaeisaiaabkgacaqGGaGaae4kaiaabccacaqGpbWaaSbaaSqaaiaabkdaaeqaaOGaeyiLHSQaaeisaiaabkgacaqGGaGaeyOeI0Iaaeiiaiaab+eadaWgaaWcbaGaaeOmaaqabaaaaa@42D6@

In this formula, Hb represents reduced hemoglobin, that is, hemoglobin that does not have oxygen bound to it. There are multiple factors involved in how readily heme binds to and dissociates from oxygen, which will be discussed in the subsequent sections.

Erythrocyte and hemoglobin

This diagram shows a red blood cell and the structure of a hemoglobin molecule.
Hemoglobin consists of four subunits, each of which contains one molecule of iron.

Function of hemoglobin

Hemoglobin is composed of subunits, a protein structure that is referred to as a quaternary structure. Each of the four subunits that make up hemoglobin is arranged in a ring-like fashion, with an iron atom covalently bound to the heme in the center of each subunit. Binding of the first oxygen molecule causes a conformational change in hemoglobin that allows the second molecule of oxygen to bind more readily. As each molecule of oxygen is bound, it further facilitates the binding of the next molecule, until all four heme sites are occupied by oxygen. The opposite occurs as well: After the first oxygen molecule dissociates and is “dropped off” at the tissues, the next oxygen molecule dissociates more readily. When all four heme sites are occupied, the hemoglobin is said to be saturated. When one to three heme sites are occupied, the hemoglobin is said to be partially saturated. Therefore, when considering the blood as a whole, the percent of the available heme units that are bound to oxygen at a given time is called hemoglobin saturation. Hemoglobin saturation of 100 percent means that every heme unit in all of the erythrocytes of the body is bound to oxygen. In a healthy individual with normal hemoglobin levels, hemoglobin saturation generally ranges from 95 percent to 99 percent.

Questions & Answers

Which of the following is generally called a Sprain?
Raneem Reply
sprain is also called torn ligament.. it is the streching Or tearing of ligament.. with in a joint
Khawaja
a long boin between your nick and pelvic
Marie
sprain is also known as" moch"
Sneha
sprain is also known as 'moch' it's a type of injury affect on ligaments..(sprain)
Sanjith
sprain and strain both called as 'moch'
Sanjith
body, muscle and regional of structures in the body
Harmony Reply
when the heart beats, blood pumps through the body and making the body function
Harmony
what is vagina
Hausa Reply
what is ventricular circulation
Maryam Reply
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In a four-chambered heart, such as that in humans, there are two ventricles that operate in a double circulatory system: the right ventricle pumps blood into the pulmonary circulation to the lungs, and the left ventricle pumps blood into the systemic circulation through the aorta.
yes
anjali
hi
A 23-year-old basketball player mentally rehearses free throw shots while lying in bed. Which option best describesthe area of the brain that is involved in generating a motor image of this action in the absence of actual movement?
Rai
hapothalamus
Prashant
a 67-year-old man has a stroke. one week later, he experiences sudden and uncontrolled flailing, ballistic movements of his limbs. which part of the man’s brain is most likely to have been damaged by the stroke?
Rai
primary motor cortex.. (principal area of cerebrum)
Khawaja
what factors that affect the rate diffusion
Gift Reply
the mass of the solute the temperature of theenvironment the solvent density and the distance traveled
Sulaiman
ok.
Thobok
sorry what are the common meaning of haemostatis
Juma Reply
homeostasis is the steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintaining by living systems
Sulaiman
what are the negatives feedback regulation of ADH
Nansi Reply
what is the the differences between DNA and RNA?
Mustapha
The major differences between the DNA and RNA are contain of double stranded and single stranded which the DNA contain duoble stranded and RNA contain single stranded.
Juma
what are the negatives feedback regulation of ADH before this we confused just verify long term of ADH firstly
Juma
How many genes consist of DNA?
Omaryare
omaryare muhyadiin when you talk about genes, is the material formed in a DNA genes have form like plasma have many genes round there
Juma
aldosterone, renin
Conan
DNA contains the sugar deoxyribone while RNA contains the sugar ribose the only difference between ribose and deoxyribone is that ribose has one more- OH group than deoxyribone which has -H attached to the second carbon in the ring DNA is a double stranded molecules RNA is a single strnded molecul
Sulaiman
yes
Thobok
in human genes very in size from a few hundred DNA based to more than 2million bases
Sulaiman
to know the different structures of the body To know how the body works To know more about our body parts
Deitdre Reply
hi Deitdre you tock about knowledge or you ask the question
Juma
do you need any explanation when reading this book?
janet Reply
Its Good
Hashir
yes
Balogun
Yes
Mariam
yes
Sale
yes
Mustapha
if have many ability just do it!!
Juma
we all waiting for it
Sulaiman
compare and contrast the operation of homeostasis
Dinelle Reply
what is the difference between an ionic, polar covalent and nonpolar covalent bond?
Dinelle
In summary, the bond has different in electronegativity.
Balogun
sorry help me to get the definition of hemostasis or the meaning
Juma
the definition of distal
Dinelle Reply
farthest away from the attachment point.
felix
Distal, is the farthest possition from the origin or midle point
Juma
exercise physiologist how ?
Noor Reply
hi noorr. when you talk about physiologist its a person who study physiology but exercise physiologist is what an exercise doing by physiologist in physiologican
Juma
can I get the questions of human physiology that is present in HSC 2nd semester
Rafiullah Reply
in my lerning the question com like for example ni eassy qustion must understand the the part of the body and how it work or mechanisms of each part learned
Juma
how can I memorize
mukhtaar Reply
which part of the body produces blood
aadil
give me answer
aadil
Red blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow ofbones. Stem cells in the red bone marrow called hemocytoblasts give rise to all of the formed element
mukhtaar
what is hemocytoblasts
Fatima
hemocytoblasts are stem cells in red bone marrow which give rise the all of formed elements
Khawaja
Discuss clonal theory in physiology and its application in measles infection in a 6yr child? Can anyone help me
Isaac Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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