Respiratory Gases

Hemoglobin molecule and the chemical structure of porphyrin

The respiratory system is involved in the transport of respiratory gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.

Hemoglobin and myoglobin are both essential oxygen-binding proteins.

  • Hemoglobin transports oxygen in red blood cells (erythrocytes). The protein has a special affinity for oxygen, known as its oxygen-carrying capacity that's influenced by several factors like temperature or pH.
  • Myoglobin is an intracellular protein that stores oxygen within muscle tissue for use during exercise. It has a very high affinity for oxygen compared with hemoglobin and functions to store oxygen.

Learn the mechanisms used to transport respiratory gases with the interactive animations and diagrams below. Get a crash course in respiratory system anatomy.