Carbon Dioxide Binding to Hemoglobin


This set of medical illustrations depicts one of the explanations of the mechanism of action for carbon monoxide poisoning. The first illustration depicts the normal process of how hemoglobin in a red blood cell (RBC) carries oxygen and carbon dioxide. The second illustration shows how carbon monoxide binds very tightly to hemoglobin, which displaces the oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules from the hemoglobin molecule. Oxygen and carbon dioxide can no longer be carried, and thus the cells of the body do not receive the oxygen they need to function.