Lung Alveolus Structure - Lung Alveoli Anatomy
Respiratory Membrane and Gas Exchange
In the lungs, gas exchange takes place in the alveolar sacs. Oxygen (O2) diffuses from the alveoli into the capillaries and red blood cells (RBCs).
At the same time, carbon dioxide (CO2) in the capillaries diffuses into the alveoli.
- The bonding of O2 to hemoglobin in the RBCs causes their color to change from purple to red.
- During the exchange, the gases must rapidly cross the respiratory membrane that separates the alveolar and capillary lumens.
- The respiratory membrane is about 0.6 micrometers thick and consists of the alveolar squamous cell, the capillary endothelial cell, and two fused basement membranes (formed by the alveolar and capillary cells).
An Overview of Respiratory Membrane and Gas Exchange
Now that you’re well on your way to mastering respiratory physiology, think about beginning your anatomy studies. This respiratory system revision quiz guide is the best way to get started.