The functional characteristics of hemoglobin (Hb) depend on oxygenation-linked proton and anion binding and thus on solvent buffer groups and ionic composition. This study compares the oxygenation properties of human Hb in ionic [tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane (Tris) and BisTris] buffers with those in zwitterionic N-2-hydroxy-ethylpiperazine-N′-2-ethanesulfonic acid (HEPES) buffer under strictly controlled chloride concentrations at different pH values, two temperatures, and in the absence and presence of the erythrocytic cofactor, 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (DPG). In contrast to earlier studies (carried out at the same or different chloride concentrations) it shows only small buffer effects that are manifested at low chloride concentration and high pH. These observations suggest chloride binding to the Tris buffers, which reduces the interaction with specific chloride binding sites in the Hb. The findings indicate that HEPES allows for more accurate assessment of Hb-oxygen affinity and its anion and temperature sensitivities than ionic buffers and advocates standard use of HEPES in studies on Hb function. Precise oxygen affinities of Hb dissolved in both buffers are defined under standard conditions.
- Copyright © 1992 the American Physiological Society