CIBA Foundation Symposium on Pulmonary Structure and Function

By A. V. S. De Reuck; Maeve O'Connor | Go to book overview

Summary
Previous work has shown that the rate of uptake of carbon monoxide by red cells partially limits the rate at which this gas is taken up in the lungs. The rate at which oxygen is taken up by normal human red cell suspensions has been measured at pertinent O2Hb saturations with a modified continuous flow rapid reaction apparatus. From these uptake rates, plus normal resting values for pulmonary capillary blood volume and for diffusing capacity of the pulmonary membrane, the red cells in the pulmonary capillary bed appear to present from 22 to 47 per cent of the overall resistance to oxygen uptake in the lungs. Comparison of the rate at which oxygen unloads from intracellular O2Hb when (1) the PCO2 is raised with the rate, (2) when the external PO2 is lowered, suggests that the intracellular reactions of carbon dioxide are slower than those of oxygen, and therefore must also be partially rate limiting, even in the presence of carbonic anhydrase.It is suggested that the red cells in the pulmonary capillary bed are as important as any other structure in the lung in limiting the speed of gaseous exchange.
REFERENCES
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