CO Binding to Myoglobin

Myogolobin is an O2 carrier protein that facilitates oxygen diffusion in skeletal and cardiac muscle cells by serving as a reservoir and maintaining a steep gradient for diffusion. The binding of CO to myoglobin leads to a nonfunctional form of myoglobin - the carboxymyoglobin (COMb) - with a ratio COMb/COHb of approximately 113. The decrease in facilitated oxygen diffusion in muscle cells combined with a decrease in muscular oxygen delivery may limit maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max)14'15 and cause a decrease in cardiac output as seen in patients with even a mild CO poisoning16,17.

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