Explain why the reversible reaction between oxygen and haemoglobin is important. How does the saturation level of haemoglobin affect this reaction in high and low carbon dioxide concentrations? Why is this important?

  • 1 vote

Explain why the reversible reaction between oxygen and haemoglobin is important. How does the saturation level of haemoglobin affect this reaction in high and low carbon dioxide concentrations? Why is this important?

Posted Tue 16th April, 2013 @ 17:38 by Sharon

2 Answers

  • 4 votes

Oxygen binds to hemoglobin cooperatively or reversibly. What this means is that each red blood cell has 4 hemoglobin units, and each of these units can bind an oxygen atom. When one hemoglobin unit binds an oxygen, this makes it MORE likely that the other 3 units will pick up an oxygen as well. When one unit releases an oxygen atom, this also makes it more likely that the other 3 atoms will release their oxygen as well. Therefore, red blood cells pick up oxygen in parts of the body where there is an abundance of oxygen (such as the lungs), and releases oxygen to parts of the body that need it the most (such as your muscles during exercise). During exercise you are using up oxygen so you have significantly less oxygen in your muscles. This means that the hemoglobin units are not binding oxygen but rather releasing them--therefore providing your body with the oxygen it needs!

Answered Tue 16th April, 2013 @ 20:52 by Sadiya Iqbal
  • -4 votes

you spell it homogoblin

Answered Fri 26th April, 2013 @ 11:27 by Joel Brocklehurst