It is clear from the graph that at the high pOdos that prevails in the blood exposed to alveolar air in the lung (
a dozen kPa), hemoglobin is almost a hundred % saturated which have outdoors; most of the fresh offered outdoors-binding sites on entirety off hemoglobin particles is actually focused on oxygen.
By contrast in the milieu of the tissues where pO2 is much lower, hemoglobin affinity for oxygen is also much lower, and oxygen is released from hemoglobin to the tissues.
Although pO2(a) only reflects a very small proportion (1-2 %) of the oxygen in arterial blood, it is highly significant because, as the ODC implies, it determines the amount of oxygen bound to hemoglobin in arterial blood (the sO2(a)) and therefore the total amount of oxygen that is contained in arterial blood for delivery to tissues.
If pO2(a) is reduced, then less oxygen can be carried by hemoglobin (i.e. sO2(a) is reduced) and less oxygen is available to tissues. Examination of ODC reveals that a significant decrease in pO2(a) from 15 kPa to 10 kPa has only slight effect on sO2(a) and therefore the oxygen content of arterial blood, but there is a sharp fall in sO2(a) as pO2(a) falls below around 9-10 kPa.