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Topic: breathing and exchange of gases
By: Abhishek Singh Jat

Chapter 12
Breathing and Exchange of Gases

Introduction of breathing
It is the process of taking air into our body lungs and expelling it out from
lungs. In the process of exchange of O2 from the atmosphere with CO2 produced
by the cell occur.

Internal respiration
External respiration

Lungs to blood external respiration

Blood to cell cellular respiration

Way to respiratory system


Nostrils nasal cavity internal layer pharynx larynx trachea bronchi lungs
Respiratory organ in human is lungs and in fishes are gills. This is used by most of
arthropods and lungs by terrestrial animals.

Human respiratory system

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External nostrils opening out above the upper lip it leads to the nasal chamber opens
into nasopharynx; it is a portion of pharynx, common passage for food and air.
Nasopharynx opens into glottis of the larynx region through trachea. Larynx is also
known as sound box. Trachea is a straight tube extending up to mid thoracic cavity,
which divide to form primary and secondary bronchi and bronchioles it is a very thin,
irregular walled and vascularised bag like structure called alveoli. These network of
alveoli comprises lungs. We have two lungs both are covered by double layered pleura
and with pleural fluid between them.
Mechanism of breathing
The cycle of breathing consists of two phase, i.e. inspiration and expiration are
together referred to as respiratory movement.
Inspiration involves contraction of diaphragm and intercoastal muscles resulting in
relaxation of rectus abdominos.
Expiration involves contraction of abdominal and inner intercoastal muscles resulting
in relaxation of external intercoastal muscles and diaphragm (become dome shaped).
Respiratory volumes and capacities
Respiratory volumes
i. Tidal volume (TV): it is the amount of air, which passes into and out of the lungs
during each cycle of normal respiration.
ii. Inspiratory reserve volume (IRV): it is the extra volume of air that can be
inhaled into the lungs during maximal inspiration. The average IRV is 2500 ml
3000 ml.
iii. Expiratory reserve volume (ERV): it is the largest volume of air that can be
expelled from the lungs during maximal expiration. The average ERV is 1000 ml.
iv. Residual volume: it cannot be directly measured but is the volume of air
remaining in the lungs after forced expiration. Its average value is 1200 ml.
Respiratory capacities
i. Inspiratory capacities: it is the amount of air that can be inspired with maximum
efferent. It consists of the tidal volume (500 ml) plus the inspiratory reserve
volumes.
ii. Expiratory capacities: it is the total volume of air inspired after a normal
expiration.
iii. Functional residual capacity: it is the amount of air remaining in the air
passages and alveoli at the end of quiet expiration.
iv. Vital capacity: it is the maximum volume of air which can be moved into and out
of the lungs.
VC = TV + IRV + ERV.
v. Total lungs capacity: the total volume of air contained in the lungs at the end of
forced inspiration.
TLC = VC + RV.

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Exchange of gases
Exchange of gases also occurs between blood and tissues. O 2 and CO2 are exchanged
in this diffusion. It is based on pressure/ concentration. Partial pressure of oxygen is
denoted by pO2 and pressure of carbon dioxide is represented by CO 2. A gradient is
pressure for CO2 in opposite direction, i.e. from tissue to blood and blood to alveoli.
Solubility of CO2 is amount of CO2 that can diffuse through the diffusion membrane.
The diffusion membrane is made up of three major layers:
o Thin squamous epithelium
o Endothelium of alveolar capillaries
o Basement substrate between them
Transport of gases
Inside the tissues, as the partial pressure of oxygen Is less, oxyhemoglobin gets
dissociated into oxygen and haemoglobin. Further, as Po 2 is much lower and Pco2 is
much higher in active tissues, so much of oxygen is released from oxyhaemoglobin in
active tissues. High tension of oxygen favors the formation of oxyhaemoglobin while
low tension of oxygen favors its dissociation. However, very little of oxygen is found in
the blood plasma. Each deciliter of blood releases up to 4.6 ml, of oxygen in the
tissues, 4.4 ml from oxyhaemoglobin and 0.17 ml from the dissolved oxygen in the
plasma.
Oxygen transport:
The hemoglobin pigment of blood mainly transports oxygen. From alveoli of lungs,
oxygen can readily diffuse into erythrocytes and combines loosely with hemoglobin
(Hb) to form a reversible compound oxyhemoglobin (HbO 2). Combining of oxygen
with hemoglobin to form oxyhemoglobin is a physical process. There is no change
in the valency of iron atom; it is ferrous in oxyhemoglobin and also in hemoglobin.
This reaction, therefore, is an oxygenation process and not oxidation. When fully
oxygenated, hemoglobin has about 97 per cent of oxygen. Hemoglobin is dark red
in colour; whereas oxyhemoglobin is bright red in colour. Inside the tissues, as the
partial pressure of oxygen is less, oxyhemoglobin gets dissociated into oxygen and
hemoglobin. Further, as Po2 is much lower and Pco2 is much higher in active tissues
than in passive tissues, so much of oxygen is released from oxyhemoglobin in active
tissues. High tension of oxygen favors the formation of oxyhemoglobin while low
tension of oxygen favours its dissociation. However, very little of oxygen is found in
the blood plasma. Each decilitre of blood releases up to 4.6 ml, of oxygen in the
tissues, 4.4 ml from oxyhemoglobin and 0.17 ml from the dissolved oxygen in the
plasma.
Carbon dioxide transport:
Carbon dioxide is produced in the tissues as an end product of tissue respiration. For
its elimination, it gets dissolved in tissue fluid and passes into blood. In the tissues,
100 ml of blood receives about 3.7 ml of carbon dioxide. It is transported both by
plasma and haemoglobin of blood. From the tissues, carbon dioxide diffuses into the
blood plasma and forms carbonic acid in the presence of an enzyme carbonic
anhydrase, inside the erythrocytes, some of the carbonic acid forms bicarbonates
and is thus transported. As carbonic acid, carbon dioxide is transported by blood
plasma.

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CO + H2O carbonic anhydrase H2CO3 (carbonic acid)

H2CO3 H+ + HCO3- (bicarbonate)


If all the carbon dioxide produced by the tissues is carried by blood plasma in this
way, then pH of the blood will be lowered to 4.5. this would immediately cause
death. So about 10% of the CO2 produced by the tissue is actually transported as
carbonic acid.
About 20% of the total CO2 transported by the haemoglobin of blood as
carbaminohemoglobin.

CO2 + Hb.NH2 Hb.NH.COOH

About 70% of the total CO2 produced is transported as bicarbonates ions of the
blood. Bicarbonates are formed both in the erythrocytes and in the plasma of the
blood.
In the erythrocytes, CO2 from the plasma enters the erythrocytes and combines with
water to form carbonic acid in the presence of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase.
Carbonic acid soon dissociates to form H+ and HCO3- ions.

CO2 + H2O H2CO3 H+ + HCO3-


Hence, carbon dioxide is carried in the blood in three major forms;
bicarbonates in plasma and erythrocytes, carbaminohemoglobin in
erythrocytes, and small amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide in plasma.
On reaching the lungs, blood is oxygenated. Oxyhemoglobin is a stronger
acid than deoxyhemoglobin. So it donates H+ ion, which joins bicarbonate
(HCO3-) to form carbonic acid and this carbonic acid is cleaved into water and
carbon dioxide by an enzyme carbonic anhydrase. Oxygenation of
hemoglobin releases carbon dioxide from carbaminohemoglobin. By this
way, every decilitre of blood releases about 3.7 ml of carbon dioxide in the
lungs. Then this carbon dioxide is removed from the lungs by exhalation.
Gas exchange in tissues:
In the tissues, gases are exchanged by diffusion (as in the lungs). In the
tissues, as the partial pressure of oxygen is very low (about 40 mm Hg), so
the oxygen gets uploaded here. When the blood leaves the tissues it has Po 2
of 40 mm Hg. However, for carbon dioxide it is just the reverse. The blood
entering into tissues has Pco2 of 40 mm Hg; while Pco2 of tissues is 46 mm
Hg. So some of the carbon dioxide from the tissues gets loaded into the
blood.

Disorders of respiratory system:


1. Asthma: difficulty in breathing causing wheezing due to inflammation of
bronchi and bronchioles.
2. Emphysema: alveolar walls are damaged due to which respiratory
surface is decreased causes of this is cigarette smoking.

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3. Occupational respiratory disorders: long exposure of to the
dust of industries like stone breaking, etc. cause an inflammation on lung
tissues and leads to lung damage.

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