A thermodynamic model of hemoglobin suitable for physiological applications

Am J Physiol. 1990 Mar;258(3 Pt 1):C563-77. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.1990.258.3.C563.


We propose a quantitative model of the thermodynamics of hemoglobin in contact with its five major ligands (O2, CO2, Cl-, 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate, and H+). Our model incorporates the two-state formalism of J. Monod, J. Wyman, and J.P. Changeux (J. Mol. Biol. 12: 88-118, 1965) for treatment of quanternary transitions and also the mean field formalism of K. Linderstrom-Lang (C. R. Trav. Lab. Carlsberg Ser. Chim. 15: 1-30, 1924) for treatment of electrostatic interactions. On the basis of this approach, we develop an algorithm for the efficient computation of observable quantities, such as the occupancy of various ligand binding sites, and an objective statistical procedure for determining both maximum likelihood values and confidence limits of all the intrinsic thermodynamic parameters of hemoglobin. Finally, we show that the predictions of our theory are in good agreement with independent experimental observations.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Hemoglobins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological*
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Oxyhemoglobins / metabolism
  • Thermodynamics


  • Hemoglobins
  • Ligands
  • Oxyhemoglobins
  • Carbon Dioxide