Conditions for Countergradient Diffusion of Oxygen through a Hemoglobin Barrier

  • Richard Conley La Force
  • Irving Fatt


Diffusion against a concentration gradient is often observed in biological systems. In most cases such countergradient diffusion is accompanied by an energy producing metabolic process. This is termed an active transport process. Countergradient diffusion can also take place in a passive transport process, the energy is then supplied by another species diffusing in the direction of its gradient. Such countergradient diffusion can take place in the oxygen-carbon monoxide-hemoglobin system. Carboxyhemoglobin diffuses in the direction of the carbon monoxide gradient. To maintain a material balance hemoglobin must then diffuse back and can carry small amounts of oxygen against a concentration gradient of oxygen. The conditions for such countergradient diffusion are described by solutions of the coupled differential equations of diffusion.


Diffusion Path Oxygen Flux Couple Differential Equation Carrier Molecule Hemoglobin Solution 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Conley La Force
    • 1
  • Irving Fatt
    • 2
  1. 1.California State College at HaywardHaywardUSA
  2. 2.College of EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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