The Oxygen Dissociation Curve of Blood in COVID-19

Link to article at PubMed

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2021 May 12. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00079.2021. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 hinders oxygen transport to the consuming tissues by at least 2 mechanisms: In the injured lung saturation of hemoglobin is compromised, in the tissues an associated anemia reduces the volume of delivered oxygen. For the first problem increased hemoglobin oxygen affinity (left shift of the oxygen dissociation curve ODC) is of advantage, for the 2nd, however, the contrary is the case. Indeed a right shift of the ODC has been found in former studies for anemia caused by reduced cell production or hemolysis. This resulted from increased 2,3-biphosphglycerate (2,3-BPG) concentration. In 3 investigations in COVID-19, however, no change of hemoglobin affinity was detected in spite of probably high [2,3-BPG]. The most plausible cause for this finding is formation of methemoglobin, which increases the oxygen affinity and thus apparently compensates for the 2,3-BPG effect. But this "useful effect" is cancelled by the concomitant reduction of functional hemoglobin. In the largest study on COVID-19 even a clear left shift of the ODC was detected when calculated from measurements in fresh blood rather than after equilibration with gases outside the body. This additional "in vivo" left shift possibly results from various factors (e. g. concentration changes of Cl-, 2,3-BPG, ATP, lactate, nitrocompounds, glutathione, glutamate, because of time delay between blood sampling and end of equilibration, or enlarged distribution space including interstitial fluid and is useful for O2 uptake in the lungs. Under discussion for therapy are the affinity-increasing 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (5-HMF), erythropoiesis stimulating substances like erythropoietin, and methylene blue against MetHb formation.

PMID:33978488 | DOI:10.1152/ajplung.00079.2021

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