What is Hemoglobin

Hemoglobin also referred to as Hemoglobin is an iron-containing oxygen in the red blood cells of all vertebrates except the fish family. This component carries blood that contains oxygen which is derived from respiratory organs such as lungs or gills and transports it to the rest of the body. The oxygen is released in the body tissues where it’s used to burn nutrients which provide the necessary energy to power the functions of the body. Proteins make up more than 97 percent in mammals the content of red blood cells as dry content, when the content includes water they include 35 percent of the content. Hemoglobin has the ability to bind up oxygen of 1.34 ml per gram of hemoglobin; this increases the total blood oxygen capacity in order to dissolve oxygen in the blood.

Hemoglobin is not just involved in transportation of oxygen; other gases are also transported such as carbon dioxide. Hemoglobin is also responsible for transportation of nitric oxide which is often bound up in the hemoglobin protein which is released at the same time as oxygen. This oxygen carrying component was first discovered by Hub field in 1840.Later Otto Hunker published articles about the hemoglobin where he discussed the component as diluting red blood cells by use of solvents such as water, alcohol and ether.

In most of the vertebrates the hemoglobin has an assembly of four proteins which are global in their subunits forms. The subunit contains a protein that is tightly associated with non protein heme group. All of the protein chain arranges in to a set of alpha helix structure segments which are connected together in a globin form. Though carbon dioxide is transported by the hemoglobin it never competes with oxygen as its bound to the protein chain unlike the oxygen which is bound in the iron-binding positions.

Hemoglobin can be saturated with oxygen also known as oxyhemoglobin or disaturated with the same through a process known as deoxyhemoglobin. The process of saturating the hemoglobin with oxygen occurs in the pulmonary capillaries which are next to the alveoli in the lungs. Once the hemoglobin is saturated with the oxygen it transports it to the rest of the body where it’s dropped off to body tissues where it’s required.

The capacity of hemoglobin to bind oxygen is affected by the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) such as from car exhaust pipes or from cigarettes smoke.CO competes with the ability of the hemoglobin to bind oxygen at the hemi binding stage. Its ability to compete with CO is greater by about 250 times than that of oxygen, this means that even small amounts of the gas CO reduces the ability of the hemoglobin to transport oxygen. One great risk with CO is that it’s a odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that is hard for the human to detect on their own, however it has fatal properties once it reaches the blood stream and transported in to the body cells. Inhaling a small percentage about 0.02 %of CO is likely to cause dizziness, if this is increased its likely to cause unconscious. Victims of CO poisoning usually appear pink as when the gas binds with hemoglobin it forms a bright red compound known as carboxyhemoglobin.

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