Week 4 RM - Gas Diffusion Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Week 4 RM - Gas Diffusion Deck (24):

What is Boyle's law?

Pressure is the inverse of volume


How does Boyle's law relate to the mechanism of breathing?

Air in inspired due to an increase in volume of the thoracic cavity, and as such a corresponding decrease of pressure. It drops below atmospheric pressure and air flows into the lungs


What is Henry's law?

The amount of gas dissolved in solution is proportional to the partial pressure exerted by the gas above it


What is Fick's law all about?

The efficiency of gas dissuasion across the respiratory membrane


What factors effect gas diffusion across the respiratory membrane?

The diffusion constant (to do with the solubility of the gas)
Difference in partial pressures of the gas
Surface area of the diffusion membrane
Thickness of the membrane


What is methemoglobin?

Haemoglobin where the iron at the centre of the heme portion is in its ferric (Fe3+) state rather than its ferrous (Fe2+) state. Cannot bind oxygen and the blood looks a bluish brown when excess amounts are present


How is methemoglobin converted back to normal haemoglobin?

The enzyme methemoglobin converts it back to Fe2+ and is dependent on NADH


What is Hb saturation?

The percentage of haeme units which contain oxygen molecules. Usually around 97% exiting the lungs


How does haemoglobin increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood?

If not present, only dissolved O2 would circulate. Haemoglobin grabs oxygen from the plasma, and does not contribute to the partial pressure present in the blood. This allows more O2 to dissolve and continually load onto the haemoglobin, greatly increasing how much oxygen can circulate to the tissues


What is co-operativity?

The more oxygen bound to haemoglobin, the easier it is to bind more. Higher concentrations of oxygen will encourage the relaxed state, and favour loading of oxygen onto the haemoglobin molecule.


What is the partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the alveoli?

100mmMg for O2 and 40mmMg for CO2


What is the partial pressure of oxygen in an RBC that has circulated and come back to the alveoli, ready to pick up more oxygen?



How does this difference in partial pressure facilitate gas exchange?

The plasma and RBCs have a lower partial pressure of O2 than that of the alveoli, and so oxygen will move down its pressure gradient into the plasma and into the RBC.
PCO2 is greater in the RBC than the alveoli, so CO2 will move out of RBC, into plasma and back into alveoli


What is haemoglobin's buffering Capacity?

Even when pCO2 is the alveoli decreases, oxygen saturation of the haemoglobin remains high - still above 90% even when pO2 is 70mmMg


How is oxygen unloaded to the tissues?

The pO2 in peripheral capillaries is roughly around 40mmMg when at rest, and so RBCs traveling there with a higher pO2 will unload down pressure gradient


What conditions will shift oxygen dissociation curve to the right?

Increased pCO2
Increased temperature


How is haemoglobin prevented from picking up the oxygen it just unloaded at the tissue?

Increased CO2 leads to increased H+ ions which bind to the haemoglobin and stabilise it in the T state. This prevents oxygen from binding and favours the unloading of oxygen - Bohr effect


What is the root effect?

Essentially just a part of the Bohr effect, in that the O2 carrying capacity of Hb is decreased due to acidity


What effect will shifting the oxygen dissociation curve to the left have?

Will increase oxygen loading in the alveoli


What are the different ways in which carbon dioxide is transported in the body?

5-10% in plasma dissolved
23-30% bound to Hb
60-70% as bicarbonate ions in plasma


How does the bicarbonate buffer system work in transporting carbon dioxide back to the alveoli?

pCO2 plasma is less than that within tissues, so CO2 exits cells and dissolves into plasma. CO2 enter des RBC and converted to H2CO3 via carbonic anhydrase. H+ dissociates and HCO3- ion is formed. It exits the RBC and travels in the plasma. (Cl- ion replaces to balance charge) The H+'binds to Hb and stabilise it in T state. When at alveoli, high O2 causes H+ to dissociate from the Hb and exits into plasma, forming CO2 and then diffusing into alveoli.


Why does more carbon dioxide travel dissolved in the plasma than oxygen?

It is more soluble than oxygen in water


Why does alveolar air have different partial a pressures than atmospheric air?

It is only partially replaced by atmospheric air each breath
O2 is constantly being absorbed into pulmonary blood
CO2 is constantly being absorbed from the pulmonary blood back into the alveoli


How quickly is gas removed from alveoli and why is this useful?

Half the lungs volume is removed/exchanged every 17 seconds. This slow turnover is important as it prevents sudden changes in gas concentration from a single breath