Modulation of Blood Carbon Dioxide Equilibrium Curves

Hb-O2 saturation is the major factor affecting the position of the CO2 equilibrium curve. The Haldane effect increases CO2 concentration when blood is deoxygenated, or decreases CO2 concentration when blood is oxygenated, at any given Pco2 (see Fig. 4). The Haldane effect is actually another view of the same molecular mechanism causing the Bohr effect on the O2 equilibrium curve (see earlier discussion). H+ ions from CO2 can be thought of as competing with O2 for hemoglobin binding. Hence, increasing O2 decreases the affinity of hemoglobin for H+ and blood CO2 concentration (Haldane effect), and increased [H+] decreases the affinity of hemoglobin for O2 (Bohr effect). Figure 5 summarizes these interactions.

The physiologic advantages of the Haldane effect are that it promotes unloading of CO2 in the lungs when blood is oxygenated and CO2 loading in the blood when O2 is released to tissues. The Haldane effect also results in a steeper physiologic CO2-blood equilibrium curve (see Fig. 4), which has the physiologic advantage of increasing CO2 concentration differences for a given PCO2 difference.

FIGURE 5 CO2 and O2 reactions in blood and tissues; the opposite reactions occur in the lungs. CA, carbonic anhydrase. See text for details.
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