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Respiration

Respiration

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This lesson will identify how and why gases are exchanged by the respiratory system. It will also discuss the link between the respiratory and circulatory systems.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

This lesson will cover the process of respiration and how gas is exchanged and transported throughout the body by looking at:

  1. Respiration
  2. Role of Hemoglobin

1. Respiration

Respiration is basically just the process in which oxygen is delivered to cells, and carbon dioxide waste is removed from the body. The respiratory system and its components all play vital roles in this process. Cells require oxygen in order to be able to function, and the circulatory system and respiratory system work together in order to deliver this oxygen to the cells and remove the carbon dioxide from the body.In this process of respiration, oxygen and carbon dioxide are going to diffuse down a pressure gradient from high to low. The steeper this pressure gradient is, the faster this diffusion is going to happen.

Let's use oxygen as an example. If there is a lower concentration of oxygen outside versus inside, it's going to diffuse down that gradient. It will go from the atmosphere, and will be pulled into the lungs following that gradient.

Terms to Know

    • Respiration
    • A term used to describe the movement of gases across a semipermeable membrane; in this case it would be the gas exchange process that occurs at the respiratory membrane (alveoli and pulmonary capillaries).
    • Pressure gradient
    • Differences in pressures created by different concentrations of air in different areas.

Hemoglobin actually plays an important role in maintaining this pressure gradient. As hemoglobin collects oxygen from the lungs and carries it to the body, it removes oxygen from the lungs, so more can be pulled in.

Alveoli are located in the lungs, and are the location of gas exchange. Membranes in the alveoli and capillaries form what is called the respiratory membranes. One side is the respiratory membrane is the alveoli, and the other are capillaries. The endothelium of each connect at the basement membrane between them. The respiratory membranes and capillaries allow for diffusion of gases between your blood and the air you breath. Blood either needs to collect oxygen to carry to the rest of body, or it needs to get rid of carbon dioxide.

Terms to Know

    • Alveoli
    • Microscopic air sacs located in the peripheral parts of the lungs that consist of simple squamous epithelial tissue. Alveoli and pulmonary capillaries create the respiratory membrane where gas exchange occurs between atmospheric air and blood.
    • Hemoglobin
    • A quaternary pigment protein found on red blood cells, hemoglobin is primarily used to transport oxygen and some carbon dioxide throughout the blood.
    • Respiratory Membrane
    • The respiratory membrane consists of alveolar air sacs and pulmonary capillaries, and is where the actual site of gas exchange occurs between atmospheric air and the blood.

repiratorymembrane (2).png

When oxygen diffuses through the respiratory membrane it goes to the red blood cells which contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin will then carry the oxygen away. The reverse would happen with carbon dioxide. If these red blood cells are carrying carbon dioxide, that would diffuse across this respiratory membrane to the alveoli. The carbon dioxide would then be exhaled when we breathe out.


2. Role of Hemoglobin

Hemoglobin maintains the steep pressure gradient of oxygen. Hemoglobin is a protein found in our red blood cells that can bind up to four oxygen at a time, and that is why it can maintain the pressure gradient. It allows blood to carry more oxygen than it otherwise would.

Whenever hemoglobin is carrying oxygen, we call it oxyhemoglobin, and hemoglobin can also carry away carbon dioxide. When hemoglobin is carrying carbon dioxide it is called carbaminohemoglobin.

Terms to Know

    • Oxyhemoglobin
    • The term used to describe when oxygen is bound to hemoglobin; oxygen + hemoglobin = oxyhemoglobin.
    • Carbaminohemoglobin
    • A term used to describe when carbon dioxide is bound to hemoglobin; something to note is that oxygen and carbon dioxide do not compete with each other when binding to hemoglobin.

Big Idea

When you breathe in oxygen, that oxygen is going to be delivered by the hemoglobin in your blood to the left side of your heart. It's going to be pumped through the left side of your heart to the cells throughout your body. Your body cells are going to use that oxygen causing the red blood cells to be oxygen-lacking. They will now carry carbon dioxide away from the cells of your body back up to the right side of your heart. The right side of the heart is going to pump it back up to your lungs. There the hemoglobin in your red blood cells will then collect more oxygen, and it will go through this process again

Summary

Respiration is the exchange gases that occurs at the alveoli in your lungs. Oxygen and carbon dioxide move across the respiratory membranes which are composed of the alveoli and capillaries. The pressure gradient of oxygen and carbon dioxide is what causes this diffusion to take place. The role of hemoglobin is to maintain this pressure gradient. Hemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that oxygen can bind to.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Respiration

    A term used to describe the movement of gasses across a semi-permeable membrane; in this case it would be the gas exchange process that occurs at the respiratory membrane (alveoli and pulmonary capillaries).

  • Alveoli

    Microscopic air sacs located in the peripheral parts of the lungs that consist of simple squamous epithelial tissue. Alveoli and pulmonary capillaries create the respiratory membrane where gas exchange occurs between atmospheric air and blood.

  • Hemoglobin

    A quaternary pigment protein found on red blood cells, hemoglobin is primarily used to transport oxygen and some carbon dioxide throughout the blood.

  • Pressure gradient

    Differences in pressures created by different concentrations of air in different areas.

  • Respiratory Membrane

    The respiratory membrane consists of alveolar air sacs and pulmonary capillaries, and is where the actual site of gas exchange occurs between atmospheric air and the blood.

  • Oxyhemoglobin

    The term used to describe when oxygen is bound to hemoglobin; oxygen + hemoglobin = oxyhemoglobin.

  • Carbaminohemoglobin

    A term used to describe when carbon dioxide is bound to hemoglobin; something to note is that oxygen and carbon dioxide do not compete with each other when binding to hemoglobin.