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Interaction of Haemoglobin with Other Gases

  • The primary role of haemoglobin (Hb) is to transport oxygen to different parts of the body and to bring back carbon dioxide to the lungs.
  • It transports oxygen as oxyhaemoglobin and carbon dioxide as carbaminohemoglobin
  • Hb has an affinity for other gasses too, binding with other gas hinders the oxygen transport process
  • Hb can be oxidised to a compound which again disturbs the oxygen transport process

Topics covered:

  • Carboxyhaemoglobin
  • Methaemoglobin

Carboxyhaemoglobin


Definition:

  • Carboxyhaemoglobin is a stable compound formed by the interaction of carbon monoxide with haemoglobin in RBC.

Detailed Explanation:

  • Incomplete combustion of carbon produces carbon monoxide.
  • If a person inhales carbon monoxide then it becomes life-threatening.
  • CO binds with haemoglobin 250 times faster than oxygen.
  • Carbon monoxide when inhaled diffuses from the alveolar air to the blood and binds to haemoglobin forming carboxyhemoglobin.
  • Carboxyhaemoglobin is a stable compound, therefore free Hb is not available for oxygen transport.
  • The condition is termed as carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Deficiency of oxygen causes nausea, headache, dizziness, cyanosis and even death.
  • Therefore, it is advisable not to sleep in a closed room with a burning lamp or fire, as insufficient air in the closed room can produce carbon monoxide and lead to carbon monoxide poisoning

Methaemoglobin


Definition:

  • Methaemoglobin is a stable compound of haemoglobin in which ferrous (Fe2+) is oxidized to ferric (Fe3+) state, sure to interact with nitrates, benzocaine etc.

Detailed Explanation:

  • Sometimes referred as ferrihemoglobin
  • Methaemoglobin, unlike haemoglobin, cannot let oxygen bind and as a result, cannot transport oxygen to the tissues.
  • Reduced oxygen in the tissues can be fatal.
  • Traces of methaemoglobin is present in our blood which is produced spontaneously.
  • NADH dependent enzyme methaemoglobin reductase present in our body converts the methaemoglobin back to haemoglobin.
  • Presence of a high amount of methaemoglobin in the body can be due to genetic reasons or exposure to various chemicals.
  • Methemoglobinemia is a condition of a high concentration of methaemoglobin in the blood.
  • This condition can be a be a medical emergency.


Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Q1. How carboxyhemoglobin is formed?
Ans.
Carboxyhaemoglobin is a stable compound formed by the interaction of carbon monoxide with haemoglobin in RBC.

Q2. Why does carboxyhemoglobin causes death?
Ans.

  • Carbon monoxide forms stable compund with haemoglobin, thus reducing the free haemoglobin for oxygen transports.
  • Also, CO affinity for Hb is much higher compared to O2.
  • So, oxygenated blood will not be able to reach to different organs which can cause death

Q3. Why it is advisable not to sleep in a closed room with burning lamp?
Ans.
 
It is advisable not to sleep in a closed room with a burning lamp or fire, as insufficient air in the closed room can produce carbon monoxide and lead to carbon monoxide poisoning

Q4. How is methaemoglobin formed?
Ans. 
Methaemoglobin is formed by the reversible oxidation of ferrous (Fe2+) of haemoglobin to ferric (Fe3+) state

Q5. What can cause methaemoglobin?
Ans.

  • Traces of methaemoglobin is present in our blood which is produced spontaneously.
  • Presence of a high amount of methaemoglobin in the body can be due to genetic reasons or exposure to various chemicals like nitrates, benzocaine etc.

Q6. Which enzyme converts methaemoglobin to haemoglobin?
Ans.
 
NADH dependent enzyme methaemoglobin reductase present in our body converts the methaemoglobin back to haemoglobin.

Q7. What is methemoglobinemia?
Ans
.
Methemoglobinemia is a condition of a high concentration of methaemoglobin in the blood.

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