Effect of BPG on Hemoglobin

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BPG is D-2,3-biphosphoglycate and it binds strongly to deoxyhemoglobin (T state)



The purpose of BPG is to decrease the oxygen affinity of hemoglobin. As a result, the p50 increases.

The physiological relevance of BPG is that when we go to high altitudes, there is a higher pressure meaning oxygen intake will be much more difficult.

Our body then begins to produce BPG so that is could increase the p50 of our hemoglobin so that we have less affinity for oxygen.

Even though this may seem counter-intuitive, afterall, our body needs oxygen, right?

Well this actually benefits our body because a decrease in oxygen affinity puts less strain on Hb for oxygen delivery.

In other words, more BPG means a better oxygen delivery throughout our body.


Source: Voet, Voet and Pratt Biochemistry

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