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The simplest way to differentiate the two effects is to identify which molecule is the

cause of the change.

The Haldane effect describes how oxygen concentrations determine hemoglobin's affinity
for carbon dioxide. For example, high oxygen concentrations enhance the unloading of
carbon dioxide. The converse is also true: low oxygen concentrations promote loading of
carbon dioxide onto hemoglobin. In both situations, it is oxygen that causes the change in
carbon dioxide levels.

The Bohr effect, on the other hand, describes how carbon dioxide and H+ affect the
affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen. High CO2 and H+ concentrations cause decreases in
affinity for oxygen, while low concentrations cause high affinity for oxygen.

To further illustrate the difference, it might help to look at specific examples. In the
lungs, when hemoglobin loaded with carbon dioxide is exposed to high oxygen levels,
hemoglobin's affinity for carbon dioxide decreases. This is an example of the Haldane

In active muscles, carbon dioxide and H+ levels are high. Oxygenated blood that flows
past is affected by these conditions, and the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen is
decreased, allowing oxygen to be transferred to the tissues. Because we are looking at the
situation from the perspective of carbon dioxide changing oxygen affinity, this is an
example of the Bohr effect.