Oxygen transport by rabbit embryonic blood: high cooperativity of hemoglobin-oxygen binding

Respiration Physiology
R A Holland, S J Calvert

Abstract

Oxygen equilibrium curves (OECs) have been determined in blood of embryonic and adult rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) using a thin film method (modified Hemoscan). The gestational age of the rabbits was from 12 days to 14 days, the end of the embryonic period. Measurements were made at 37 degrees C and a PCO2 of 21, 42, or 71 mmHg. The most striking finding was an embryonic OEC which was steep above 50% saturation. The Hill plot in this upper region gave a mean nH value of 5.3 in the embryos, the first finding of nH significantly greater than 4 in any normal eutherian mammal. On hemolysis, nH dropped below 4. Oxygen affinity of 14 day embryonic blood was higher than that of adult blood: respective P50 values at PCO2 = 42 mmHg were 29.6 mmHg and 32.5 mmHg. The P50s were somewhat lower at earlier stages. The Bohr effect was measured (as delta log P50/delta log PCO2) in 14 day embryos. Its value was 0.26, about 10% lower than in adults. The results show an apparent aggregation of Hb tetramers, as found in marsupials, but no right shifting of the embryonic OEC compared to the adult OEC.

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Citations

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Related Concepts

Embryo
Dioxygen
Aggregation
Gestational Age
Chinchilla Rabbits
Oxygen Affinity
Oxygen Binding Activity
Hemoglobin Measurement
Eryhem
Superorder Marsupalia (organism)

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