carboxyhaemoglobin

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carboxyhaemoglobin The highly stable product formed when haemoglobin combines with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide competes with oxygen for haemoglobin, with which it binds strongly: the affinity of haemoglobin for carbon monoxide is 250 times greater than that for oxygen. This reduces the availability of haemoglobin for combination with (and transport of) oxygen and accounts for the toxic effects of carbon monoxide on the respiratory system.

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carboxyhaemoglobin (kar-boks-i-heem-ŏ-gloh-bin) n. a substance formed when carbon monoxide combines with the pigment haemoglobin in the blood. Carboxyhaemoglobin is incapable of transporting oxygen to the tissues and this is the cause of death in carbon monoxide poisoning.

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