The Journal of clinical investigation

Axial heterogeneity of intracellular pH in rat proximal convoluted tubule.

PMID 3036912


In the proximal convoluted tubule (PT), the HCO3- reabsorptive rate is higher in early (EPS) compared with late proximal segments (LPS). To examine the mechanism of this HCO3- reabsorption profile, intracellular pH (pHi) was measured along the superficial PT of the rat under free-flow and stationary microperfusion using the pH-sensitive fluorescence of 4-methylumbelliferone (4MU). With 4MU superfusion, pHi was found to decline along the PT. Observation with 365-nm excitation revealed that EPS were brightly fluorescent and always emerged away from their star vessel. Midproximal segments were darker and closer to the star vessel which was surrounded by the darkest LPS. Decreasing luminal HCO3- from 15 to 0 mM lowered pHi in both EPS and LPS, but pHi remained more alkaline in EPS with both perfusates. Thus the axial decline in pHi along the PT is due to both luminal factors and intrinsic differences in luminal H+ extrusion in PT cells.