Haemoglobin (also spelled haemoglobin and abbreviated Hb or Hgb) is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates (except the fish family Channichthyidae) and the tissues of some invertebrates. Hemoglobin in the blood is what transports oxygen from the lungs or gills to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues) where it releases the oxygen for cell use, and collects carbon dioxide to bring it back to the lungs.
In mammals the protein makes up about 97% of the red blood cells’ dry content, and around 35% of the total content (including water). Hemoglobin has an oxygen binding capacity of 1.34 ml O2 per gram of hemoglobin, which increases the total blood oxygen capacity seventyfold. Hemoglobin is involved in the transport of other gases: it carries some of the body’s respiratory carbon dioxide (about 10% of the total) as carbaminohemoglobin, in which CO2 is bound to the globin protein. The molecule also carries the important regulatory molecule nitric oxide bound to a globin protein thiol group, releasing it at the same time as oxygen. Hemoglobin is also found outside red blood cells and their progenitor lines. Other cells that contain hemoglobin include the A9 dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, macrophages, alveolar cells, and mesangial cells in the kidney. In these tissues, hemoglobin has a non-oxygen-carrying function as an antioxidant and a regulator of iron metabolism.