Question
Asked Nov 2, 2019

How is oxygen and carbon dioxide transported across the lungs to the blood? How are they each carried in the blood through the body? How are they released from the blood?

check_circleExpert Solution
Step 1
  • The exchange of gases oxygen and carbon dioxide from the lungs into blood happens through the process of diffusion. The inhaled air contains higher level of oxygen and lower level of carbon dioxide. The blood contains low levels of oxygen and higher levels of carbon dioxide. This concentration gradient allows for the exchange of gases between blood and inhaled air. The rate of diffusion depends on the partial pressure of the gases.
  • The exchange of gases takes place in the alveolar sac that is lined with a single layer of thin-walled parenchymal cells. The alveoli are in close contact to a network of capillaries that transports the diffused oxygen to entire body.
Step 2

Oxygen is transported in blood through haemoglobin molecules present in red blood cells (RBC). Majority of the diffused oxygen (98.5%) is bound to haemoglobin for transport. It binds to four molecules of oxygen at a time. The binding oxygen to haemoglobin is reversible and depends on pH (potential of hydrogen) of blood, carbon dioxide levels, partial pressure of oxygen and temperature. The form of haemoglobin bound to oxygen is called oxyhemoglobin.

Carbon dioxide is transported through blood by three methods.

  • 5-7% of carbon dioxide is directly dissolved in blood.
  • It can also bind to plasma proteins or haemoglobin. The binding of carbon dioxide to haemoglobin produce carbaminohemoglobin. 10% of carbon d...

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