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Bohr Effect

by Kevin Ahern, PhD
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    Now if we just think about hemoglobin for a second and we compare the oxygen binding properties of hemoglobin, we see something really interesting. This plot shows four different measures of hemoglobin's ability to bind oxygen. In each case, the only difference is the pH of the solution that the hemoglobin is found in. The curve farthest on the left corresponds to hemoglobin binding oxygen at a pH of 7.6. The next curve is at 7.4. The next curve is at 7.2. And the last curve, the farthest to the right is measuring hemoglobin's binding of oxygen at 7.0. Now if we use that principle that I showed you of moving the curve to the right, when that happens, we're seeing less binding of oxygen, what this curve is what these curves are telling us, is that the lower the pH, the less hemoglobin will bind to oxygen. Well, why is that important? The reason that that's important is cells that are rapidly metabolizing -- let's say that muscle cell that's out there while you're running that race. Cells that ara rapidly metabolizing release protons. And protons are what cause the pH to fall. So that change in pH occurs around rapidly metabolizing cells. And what cells need the most oxygen? The ones that are rapidly metabolizing. So as we look at this graph, we see that if we look at a given oxygen concentration, we have less bound for any of the ones that have the lower pH. And if we look at a given oxygen saturation, we see that it takes more oxygen to get to the same saturation level for the one with the lower pH. Again, consistent with what I said earlier about the curve moving to the left having less affinity for oxygen. Now we...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Bohr Effect by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course Amino Acid Metabolism.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. ...has a greater affinity for oxygen at higher pH values than lower ones.
    2. ...releases carbon dioxide when it binds to protons.
    3. ...let's go off oxygen as the proton concentration decreases.
    4. All of the answers are true.
    5. None of the answers are true.
    1. All of the answers are true.
    2. ...releases additional oxygen in the presence of oxygen.
    3. ...releases additional oxygen in the presence of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
    4. ...releases additional oxygen near rapidly metabolizing tissues.
    5. None of the answers are true.

    Author of lecture Bohr Effect

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD


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