Metabolic Use of Oxygen by the Cells

Effect of Intracellular Po2 on Rate of Oxygen Usage. Only a minute level of oxygen pressure is required in the cells for normal intracellular chemical reactions to take place. The reason for this is that the respiratory enzyme systems of the cell, which are discussed in Chapter 67, are geared so that when the cellular Po2 is more than 1 mm Hg, oxygen availability is no longer a limiting factor in the rates of the chemical reactions. Instead, the main limiting factor is the concentration of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) in the cells. This effect is demonstrated in Figure 40-11, which shows the relation between intracellular Po2 and the rate of oxygen usage at different concentrations of ADP. Note that whenever the intracellular Po2 is above 1 mm Hg, the rate of oxygen usage becomes constant for any given concentration of ADP in the cell. Conversely, when the ADP concentration is altered, the rate of

ADP = 11/2 normal

ADP = 11/2 normal

Intracellular Po2 (mm Hg)

Figure 40-11

Effect of intracellular adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and Po2 on rate of oxygen usage by the cells. Note that as long as the intracellular Po2 remains above 1 mm Hg, the controlling factor for the rate of oxygen usage is the intracellular concentration of ADP.

oxygen usage changes in proportion to the change in ADP concentration.

As explained in Chapter 3, when adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is used in the cells to provide energy, it is converted into ADP. The increasing concentration of ADP increases the metabolic usage of oxygen as it combines with the various cell nutrients, releasing energy that reconverts the ADP back to ATP. Under normal operating conditions, the rate of oxygen usage by the cells is controlled ultimately by the rate of energy expenditure within the cells—that is, by the rate at which ADP is formed from ATP.

Effect of Diffusion Distance from the Capillary to the Cell on Oxygen Usage. Tissue cells are seldom more than 50 micrometers away from a capillary, and oxygen normally can diffuse readily enough from the capillary to the cell to supply all the required amounts of oxygen for metabolism. However, occasionally, cells are located farther from the capillaries, and the rate of oxygen diffusion to these cells can become so low that intracellular Po2 falls below the critical level required to maintain maximal intracellular metabolism. Thus, under these conditions, oxygen usage by the cells is said to be diffusion limited and is no longer determined by the amount of ADP formed in the cells. But this almost never occurs, except in pathological states.

Effect of Blood Flow on Metabolic Use of Oxygen. The total amount of oxygen available each minute for use in any given tissue is determined by (1) the quantity of oxygen that can be transported to the tissue in each 100 milliliters of blood and (2) the rate of blood flow. If the rate of blood flow falls to zero, the amount of available oxygen also falls to zero. Thus, there are times when the rate of blood flow through a tissue can be so low that tissue Po2 falls below the critical 1 mm Hg required for intracellular metabolism. Under these conditions, the rate of tissue usage of oxygen is blood flow limited. Neither diffusion-limited nor blood flow-limited oxygen states can continue for long, because the cells receive less oxygen than is required to continue the life of the cells.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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    When intracellular po2 (mmhg) increases, what happens to the rate of oxygen usage?
    9 months ago
  • cindy
    Is the metabolism of cells related to the concentration of oxygen?
    7 months ago

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