Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 324, Issue 3, pp 249–266 | Cite as

The diffusion of carbon dioxide in erythrocytes and hemoglobin solutions

  • G. Gros
  • W. Moll


The CO2 diffusion constant (Krogh's diffusion constant) has been estimated from the CO2 flux across layers with defined thickness under steady state conditions.

At 22°C and in hemoglobin solutions with a concentration of 33 g% the diffusion constant for CO2 was found to be 3.3×10−4 cm2 min−1 atm−1. This value is about 40% of the diffusion constant for CO2 in water. The relationship between the diffusion constant and the hemoglobin concentration was approximately linear in a concentration range of 10–40 g%. The temperature coefficient of the diffusion constant was −0.5%/°C both in water and hemoglobin solutions. At 38°C and in a hemoglobin solution with a concentration of 33 g%, the diffusion constant for CO2 was therefore 3.0×10−4 cm2 min−1 atm−1, the diffusion coefficient 11×10−6 cm2 s−1.

A general theory for the diffusion of CO2 in hemoglobin solutions has been derived. According to this theory the diminution of the CO2 diffusion in hemoglobin solutions in comparison to water can be explained quantitatively by a reduction of the water space by the hemoglobin molecules.

The diffusion constant for CO2 in layers of erythrocytes was insignificantly (0–3%) smaller than in hemoglobin solutions with the same hemoglobin concentration. It is concluded that the erythrocyte membrane does not offer a considerable resistance for the CO2 diffusion.


Carbon Dioxide Diffusion Hemoglobin Erythrocytes Membrane Permeability 


Kohlendioxid Diffusion Hämoglobin Erythrocyten Membranpermeabilität 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Gros
    • 1
  • W. Moll
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Physiologie der Medizinischen Hochschule HannoverHannoverGermany

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