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Heme and Hemoglobin

Heme and hemoglobin

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Dr.Ehab Aboueladab

Text of Heme and hemoglobin

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Heme and Hemoglobin

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RBCs live for about 120 days in peripheral circulation.

100 ml blood contains about 14.5 gm of Hb.

Mature RBC is non-nucleated. RBC have no mitochondria

and does not contain TCA cycle enzymes.

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RBC formation in the bone marrow requires • amino acids, • iron, • copper, • folic acid, • vitamin B12, • vitamin C, • pyridoxal phosphate, • pantothenic acid and hemopoietin.

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STRUCTURE OF HEMOGLOBIN Hemoglobin is a conjugated

protein having heme as the prosthetic group and the protein, the globin.

It is a tetrameric protein with 4 subunits, each subunit having a prosthetic heme group and the globin polypeptide.

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The polypeptide chains are usually two alpha and two beta chains.

Hemoglobin has a molecular weight of about 67,000 Daltons

Each gram of Hb contains 3.4 mg of iron

Heme is produced by the combination of iron with a porphyrin ring.

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Porphyrin ring

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Biosynthesis of Heme Heme can be synthesized by almost all the

tissues in the body. Heme is synthesized in the normoblasts, but

not in the matured ones The pathway is partly cytoplasmic and partly


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Structure of heme

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i ALA synthesis: Succinyl CoA and glycine are condensed to form alpha amino levulinic acid (ALA). The enzyme is ALA synthase. It is the rate-limiting enzyme. It needs pyridoxal phosphate. Hence, anemia may be manifested in pyridoxal deficiency. The enzyme ALA synthase is in mitochondria. ii. Formation of PSG: Two molecules of ALA are condensed to form porphobilinogen .

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iii. Formation of UPG: Then condensation of 4 molecules of the PBG, results in the formation of uroporphyrinogen (UPG). Only III series are further used . iv. Synthesis of CPG: The UPG-III is next converted to coproporphyrinogen (CPG-III) by decarboxylation. The acetate groups (CH2-COOH) are decarboxylated to methyl (CH3) groups

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iv. Synthesis of CPG: The UPG-1I1 is next converted to coproporphyrinogen (CPG-III) by decarboxylation. The acetate groups (CH2-COOH) are decarboxylated to methyl (CH3) groups. v Synthesis of PPG: CPG is oxidized to protoporphyrinogen (PPG-III) Two propionic acid side chains are oxidatively dearboxylated to vinyl groups .

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vi. Generation of PP: The protoporphyrinogen-III is oxidized The methylene bridges (-CH2) are oxidized to methenyl bridges (-CH=). Protoporphyrin-9 is thus formed. vii. Generation of heme: Ferrous iron is attached to the protoporphyrin. The enzyme is heme synthase or ferrochelatase. Iron atom is co-ordinately linked with 5 nitrogen atoms (4 nitrogen of pyrrole rings of protoporphyrin and 1st nitrogen atom of a histidine residue of globin).

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CATABOLISM OF HEME Generation of Bilirubin The end-products of heme catabolism are bile pigments The old RBCs breakdown, liberating the hemoglobin The iron liberated from heme is re-utilized The porphyrin ring is broken down in reticuloendothelial

(RE) cells of liver, spleen and bone marrow to bile pigments, mainly bilirubin

35 mg of bilirubin is formed from 1 g of Hb 300 mg of bilirubin is formed every day

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Microsomal heme oxygenase system: Heme is degraded by a microsomal enzyme system; heme

oxygenase. It requires molecular oxygen and NADPH. The alpha methenyl bridge is broken, liberating carbon monoxide The linear tetrapyrrole formed is biliverdin which is green in color. In mammals it is further Bile pigments are bilirubin and biliverdin. They are the breakdown products of heme; they are useless

excretory products. Bile salts are the sodium salts of bile acids (glycocholate and

taurocholate). They are produced from cholesterol; they help in the absorption of

fat. Both bile pigments and bile salts are present in the bile. Reduced to bilirubin, a red-yellow pigment, by an NADPH dependent

biliverdin reductase

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Catabolic pathway of hemoglobin

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Breakdown of heme

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Plasma Bilirubin i. Normal plasma bilirubin level ranges from 0.2-0.8 mg/dl. ii. The unconjugated bilirubin is about 0.2-0.6 mg/dl, iii. while conjugated bilirubin is only 0-0.2 mg/dl.

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