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7.3 ~ Gaseous Exchange across the Respiratory Surfaces and Transport of Gases in Humans.

A total

respiratory surface area of 70m ~ 80m of 700 million alveoli in the human lungs. The characteristics of the respiratory surface in the alveoli are: -a large surface area for gaseous exchange. -a thin one-cell thick epithelial surface which is moist and permeable to gas. -an underlying capillary network, which is also one-cell thick, that carries oxygen away and brings carbon dioxide to be eliminated.

The

exchange of gases at the respiratory surface is by diffusion. Gases diffuse down their respective partial pressure gradients (for solids, we use the term concentration gradient.)

The partial pressure of a gas is: -the pressure exerted by that particular gas. -a measure of its concentration. -is higher if its concentration is greater. Atmosphere is a mixture of different gases of different concentrations. The partial pressure of a particular gas can be calculated by multiplying its percentage composition with the total atmospheric pressure.

Partial pressure = percentage composition (%) x atmospheric pressure (mmHg)

A gas diffuses from a place of high partial pressure to a place of low partial pressure.

A gas diffuses down its partial pressure gradient.


Gas Oxygen Alveolar air High Alveolar capillaries Low Effects Oxygen diffuses from alveolar air into capillaries. Carbon dioxide diffuses from capillaries into alveolar air.

Carbon dioxide

Low

High

Table A

Gas Oxygen

Tissue capillaries High

Body cells Low

Effects Oxygen in tissue capillaries diffuses into the body cells. Carbon dioxide in body cells diffuses into the tissue capillaries.

Carbon dioxide

Low

High

Table B

Table A:Diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide across the alveolus-capillary. Table B: Diffusion of carbon dioxide and oxygen across the tissue cell-capillary boundaries

Due to partial pressure differences.

Deoxygenated blood: -enters the capillaries around the alveolus. -has less oxygen (low Po2) and more carbon dioxide (Pco2) compared to the air inside the alveolus. As the partial pressure of oxygen is higher in the air of the alveolus compared to the partial pressure of oxygen in the blood capillaries, oxygen diffuses from the air of the alveolus into the blood capillaries. In the capillaries, oxygen combines with haemoglobin to form oxyhaemoglobin and is transported away. As the partial pressure of carbon dioxide is lower in the air of the alveolus compared to the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the deoxygenated blood, carbon dioxide diffuses from the blood capillaries into the air of the alveolus.

Transport of Oxygen from the Lungs to the Body Cells and Gaseous Exchange
Oxygen is transported from the lungs in two ways: -About 99% of oxygen is transported away as oxyhaemoglobin in the red blood cells. -About 1% of the oxygen is transported away as dissolved gas molecules in the plasma. Oxygen that diffuses into the capillary will combine with the haemoglobin to form oxyhaemoglobin.

Red blood cells transport oxygen as oxyhaemoglobin to respiring body cells.


Hb + 4O2
In lungs (high Po2)

Hb (O2)4

The partial pressure in the respiring body cells is low, since oxygen is constantly in being used up. For a low partial pressure of oxygen, oxyhaemoglobin gives up its oxygen to the body cells.

Hb (O2)4

In tissues (low Po2)

Hb + 4O2

Transport of Carbon Dioxide From the Body Cells to the Lung and Gaseous Exchange

Respiring body cells produce carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide diffuses into the blood and is carried to the lungs in three days: -Most of the carbon dioxide (85%) is carried as bicarbonate ions (HCO3) dissolved in the blood plasma. The formation of bicarbonate ion :
CO2 + H2O H2CO3 = HCO3- + H+

-Some of the carbon dioxide (10%)combines with the amino groups of the haemoglobin in the red blood cells to form caebaminonhaemoglobin.
Hb + CO2
High Pco2

HbCO2

-A small amount of the carbon dioxide (5%) dissolves in the blood plasma and is transported as dissolved gas molecules.

When blood carrying carbon dioxide reaches the lungs: -Hydrogen carbonate ions (H2CO3-) convert back to carbon dioxide molecules which diffuse into alveolar air:
HCo2- + H+ H2CO3
(Carbonic acid)

CO2 + H2O

-Carbamino-haemoglobin breaks down to release carbon dioxide molecules which diffuse into alveolar air.
Hb2Co2 + H+
(Carbamino-haemoglobin)

Hb + CO2

-Dissolved carbon dioxide in blood plasma simply diffuses from the capillaries into the alveolar air, down the partial pressure diffusion gradient of carbon dioxide.

bronchiole

Alveolus (diameter = 40m)

1. In the lungs Po2 in alveoli > Po2 in capillaries, so O2 diffuses from alveoli to capillaries Pco2 in capillaries >Pco2 in alveoli, so CO2, diffuses from capillaries into alveoli..

2. In the capillaries, O2 is transported to respiring body cells in two ways: O2 combines with haemoglobin of red blood cells to form oxyhaemoglobin. A little O2 dissolves in blood plasma.
3. In body cells: Po2 in cells < Po2 in capillaries, so O2 diffuses from capillaries into cells. Pco2 in cells > Pco2 in capillaries, so CO2 diffuses from cells into capillaries. 4. CO2 in capillary blood is transported to the lungs in three ways. Bicarbonate ions (HCO3-) in plasma Carbamino-haemoglobin in red blood cells. .dissolved CO2 molecules in plasma.

The Composition of Inhaled and Exhaled air


1. Inhaled air is the air that we breathe in, which has the normal percentage composition of the different atmospheric gases. 2. Alveolar air: Results from the mixing of atmospheric air with air already in the lungs (residual air) Has a lower % composition of oxygen compared to that of the inhaled air and the exhaled air. Has a high % composition of carbon dioxide (5.50%) because the carbon dioxide diffuses directly from the blood capillaries. Has % composition of nitrogen that is quite similar to that of the inhaled air. Is saturated with water vapour, which is a by-product of cell respiration that is excreted from the alveolus.

3. Exhaled air: has a lower % composition of oxygen compared to that of the inhaled air, but the higher than that of the alveolar air. Has a % composition of carbon dioxide (4.00%) that is slightly lower than that of the alveolar air (5.50%) due to the dilution by the residual air in the trachea and the bronchi. Has % composition of nitrogen that is quite similar too that of the alveolar air and the inhaled air.

Gas

Percentage composition

Partial pressure (mmHg)

Percentage composition

Partial pressure (mmHg)

Percentage composition

Partial pressure (mmHg)

Oxygen Carbon dioxide Nitrogen Water vapor

20.95 0.04 79.01 Variable

159.22 0.30 600.48

13.80 5.50 80.70 Saturated

104.88 41.80 613.32

16.40 4.00 79.60 Saturated

124.64 30.40 604.95