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Hemoglobin - Definition


Hemoglobin is a protein found inside red blood cells and is responsible for its red color. It exists in several forms, including hemoglobin A1 which represents 98% of the hemoglobin of a normal individual. In the fetus, there is some hemoglobin F and certain hemoglobins, like the S responsible for sickle cell disease, are associated with diseases called hemoglobinopathies. Hemoglobin's main function is to transport oxygen molecules to organs and tissues through the bloodstream. After red cell breakdown, a portion of the hemoglobin will be transformed by several reactions into bilirubin, the compound that gives the yellow color to urine, and into stercobilin, which gives stool its brown color. The amount of normal hemoglobin is between 13 and 18 grams per liter of human blood, from 12 to 16 in women.