Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892



Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892
Textbook Problem

Discuss Concepts Carbon monoxide (CO), a component of cigarette smoke, binds irreversibly to hemoglobin. What might be the impact of this phenomenon on a smoker’s health?

Summary Introduction

To review:

The impact of carbon monoxide (CO), a component of cigarette smoke that binds irreversibly to the hemoglobin, on a smoker's health.


In the human circulatory system, erythrocytes are the oxygen (O2) carriers of the blood. They carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body parts. Erythrocytes are the blood cells that are flattened, disc-like, and biconcave in shape, which provides flexibility to the cells: 8 µm (micrometers) in diameter and 2 µm thick. Hemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen and gives red color to the erythrocytes.


Erythrocytes are anucleate cells that circulate in the blood. Hemoglobin is a protein that provides erythrocytes their red color. It consists of four polypeptides that are linked to a heme group containing an iron atom in the center. This iron atom carries oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body by binding to oxygen molecules.

Hemoglobin is responsible for increasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of erythrocytes. Partial pressure plays an important role in a reversible combination of hemoglobin with oxygen. The increase in the acidity in the active tissues can also contribute to the release of oxygen from hemoglobin.

The Bohr Effect is a phenomenon in which the hemoglobin’s conformation is altered due to low pH, thereby, oxygen is released into cells and is used in cellular respiration...

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