Hemoglobin or Hb/Hgb is responsible for delivering oxygen throughout the body. It is a type of protein found in the red blood cells of a vast majority of the vertebrates. Hemoglobin carries a unique oxygen-binding ability which makes it essential in transporting oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. However, it is not only oxygen that the hemoglobin transports. It also carries along with the oxygen molecules, Carbon dioxide as well as nitric oxide.
Hemoglobin is not only present in red blood cells in the human body. It is present in cells including the ones in the lungs and kidneys. While here hemoglobin does not take up the role of carrying oxygen, it is known to be an antioxidant and regulates the iron metabolism. Molecules similar to hemoglobin are also present in plants and fungi. This means that the existence of hemoglobin is not only in vertebrates but also in invertebrates.
- F. Engelhard discovered this critical protein in 1825. It received criticism initially from all the other scientists at that time. It was only in 1925 that Gilbert Smithson Adair confirmed this discovery. However, till this time hemoglobin was only known to be a protein that reflected the iron levels in the body.
In 1840, Hünefeld explored the role of hemoglobin to transport oxygen throughout the body.
You can achieve a better understanding of the importance of hemoglobin by looking at its different functions. Red blood cells maintain their shape because of this critical protein. Deficiency of hemoglobin can result in severe effects including fainting and bruising. There are different reasons as to why a person is deficient in hemoglobin, but the most common reason is a lack of iron in the body.