[Current conception of the Bohr effect]

Poumon Coeur. 1975;31(4):173-7.
[Article in French]


The molecular mechanism of the Bohr effect is explained according to the molecular model proposed by Perutz et al. The Bohr effect is due to changes in the pK of specific carboxyl and amino groups of the four globin chains following the transition between the deoxy and oxy conformations of the molecule. Carbon dioxide binds to the N terminal valine of the 4 monomers to form carbamino compounds. This carbaminoformation depends upon pH, PCO2 and predominates on deoxygenated haemoglobin. It is lowered when O2 binds to the heme groups (O2 linked carbamino compounds). Through the carbamino compounds Carbon dioxide lowers both the affinity of haemoglobin for O2 and the Bohr effect. Diphosphoglycerate also binds to the haemoglogin molecule. This organophosphate lowers the affinity for O2 but increases the Bohr effect. In whole blood, the Bohr effect is therefore dependent upon pH, O2 saturation, PCO2 and DPG concentration into the red blood cells.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide / blood*
  • Diphosphoglyceric Acids / blood*
  • Hemoglobins*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxyhemoglobins*
  • Partial Pressure


  • Diphosphoglyceric Acids
  • Hemoglobins
  • Oxyhemoglobins
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen