There are several differences between the oxygenated and deoxygenated states of hemoglobin. One difference can be seen in the conformational state of the hemoglobin protein. When oxygenated, the protein takes on the T (tense) state; and when deoxygenated, the protein takes on the R (relaxed) state (Hudon-Miller, 2012b). Another difference arises when oxygen binds to the hemoglobin, resulting in a change in the shape of the protein. In the deoxygenated state, the heme group forms a domed shape; and in the oxygenated state, the heme group takes on a planar shape (Hudon-Miller, 2012b).
The relationship between pH and the ability of hemoglobin to bind and release oxygen is referred to as the Bohr Effect. The blood’s pH level is greatly influenced by the carbon dioxide that is produced by most of the body’s cells …show more content…
Department of Health…, 2015). The hemoglobin within sickle red cells, however, “can form stiff rods within the red cell, changing it into a crescent, or sickle shape” (U.S. Department of Health…, 2015). In this form, the cells are not flexible and often get stuck to vessel walls, causing a blockage that can slow or possibly stop the flow of blood. As a result of this blockage, oxygen is unable to reach nearby tissues (U.S. Department of Health…, 2015). Normal red blood cells live for about 90 to 120 days, but sickle cells last only 10 to 20 days (U.S. Department of Health…, 2015). The body is continuously making red blood cells to replace the old ones. When a person has sickle cell disease, the body may have difficulty creating new red blood cells at the rate with which they are being destroyed. “Because of this, the number of red blood cells is usually lower than normal,” which is a condition called anemia (U.S. Department of Health…,