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Hemoglobin vs Myoglobin as Oxygen Carrier
Our body prefers to use hemoglobin rather than myoglobin as the oxygen carrier in the blood stream. This is because hemoglobin not only binds oxygen weakly but more importantly binds oxygen cooperatively. But what is the numerical basis of this? In other words, how can we describe quantitatively the reason why our body prefers hemoglobin over myoglobin as the oxygen carrier. When our body uses hemoglobin as the oxygen carrier, it is able to unload 21% of the oxygen to the resting tissue and 66% of oxygen to exercising tissue. On the other hand, under the same conditions, myoglobin can only unload 1% of oxygen to resting tissue and a meager 7% to exercising tissue. This dramatic difference has to due with the fact that myoglobin has a high affinity for oxygen and does not release enough oxygen under normal physiological conditions. That is precisely why myoglobin is used to store oxygen while hemoglobin is used to transport it.
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