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Questions bout the Chloride Shift in R.B.cell

  1. Sep 22, 2008 #1
    Hi, i have a question bout the chloride shift that occurs in the red blood cell. After the carbon dioxide has dissociated into the Red Blood Cell's plasma and became H+ and HCO3- i would like to know why must the HCO3- must go out and combine with the Sodium ions and since the H+ ions have combined with Hemoglobin, Hb. Why is Cl- still needed and shifted into the Red Blood Cell? Doesn't H.Hb is already neutralized?

    Sorry if you think this is a very easy question, but my book just told me there is a chloride shift, there is no explanation given on the mechanism. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2008 #2
    A wild guess:
    Maybe there's not much space for all that HCO3- in the RBC, its m.wt. being 61 and for Cl- it is 35 ?

    A better guess I think would be the altered pH of the RBC cytosol due to HCO3- accumulating in it causes it to become more basic?
    Maybe the HCO3- may try to displace the H+ from H.Hb hence it has to be transported out?

    Cl- is anyway needed for the maintainance of the osmolarity
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