Erythrocyte Metabolism: Interaction with Oxygen Transport

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Science  26 Mar 1971:
Vol. 171, Issue 3977, pp. 1205-1211
DOI: 10.1126/science.171.3977.1205


Studies of the interactions between the metabolism and the function of the red cell have shown the importance of the red cell's metabolism in contributing to the maintenance of adequate oxygen delivery. Some of the phosphorylated intermediates of glycolysis, especially DPG, are now known to reduce the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen. Current evidence indicates that this phenomenon is due to the effects of the binding of DPG to the , β-chains of deoxyhemoglobin. It appears that increases in red cell concentrations of DPG commonly occur during hypoxia, and that these increases (as well as normal physiological variation) significantly enhance oxygen transport. Artificial manipulation of erythrocyte metabolism may soon prove to be of great clinical usefulness in the treatment of a great variety of disorders which limit oxygen transport.