noun, plural: oxyhemoglobins
One of the main functions of the blood is to carry oxygen throughout the body of an animal. This function is done by the red blood cells or erythrocytes in the blood. In adult humans, the erythrocytes are disc-shaped and lack most organelles, particularly nuclei. The anucleated erythrocytes provide maximum space for hemoglobin, which is necessary for oxygen transport. Hemoglobin is a transport molecule as well as a pigment of erythrocytes. Hemoglobin is made up of heme groups and globin, thus the name. The heme portion has iron atoms that bind to oxygen molecules at the respiratory organ. Thus, the heme portion of erythrocyte permits the transport of oxygen to the rest of the body. The release of oxygen into the tissue allows waste product (e.g. carbon dioxide), in turn, to bind to the heme group. The hemoglobin in which oxygen is bound to is referred to as oxyhemoglobin. In contrast, the hemoglobin wherein oxygen has been released is then called deoxyhemoglobin. The hemoglobin when combined with oxygen renders a bright red color. Deoxyhemoglobin, in turn, appears dark red burgundy.
Word origin: Greek oxys + genein (to produce) + haima (blood) + Latin globus (ball, sphere)
Abbreviation / Acronym: HbO2
- oxygenated hemoglobin