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The American journal of physiology

Disequilibrium pH and ammonia transport in isolated perfused cortical collecting ducts.


PMID 3122587

Abstract

The present study was carried out to test directly whether isolated perfused rabbit cortical collecting ducts (CCDs) spontaneously generate a luminal disequilibrium pH. We determined disequilibrium pH as the difference between 1) the actual luminal pH measured by perfusing the lumen with a membrane-impermeant pH-sensitive dye [1,4-dihydroxyphthalonitrile (1,4-DHPN)] and 2) equilibrium pH calculated from the measured total CO2 concentration in fluid collected at the end of the tubule. When the peritubular bath and perfusate had the same composition, a statistically significant acidic disequilibrium pH was found (mean -0.14 units). To determine whether the disequilibrium pH is due to an absolute lack of luminal carbonic anhydrase, we measured the effective rate constant for carbonic acid dehydration in the lumen (k-1). To do this, a lumen-to-bath NH3 concentration gradient was imposed, and the luminal pH was measured along the tubule with 1,4-DHPN. NH3 absorption caused a luminal disequilibrium pH (due to dissociation of NH+4 to NH3 and H+), whose profile along the lumen is dependent on k-1 and NH3 permeability (PNH3). PNH3 and k-1 were estimated from the luminal pH profiles using a mathematical model of proton and buffer transport. The measured k-1 (37 s-1) is within the reported range of values for uncatalyzed H2CO3 dehydration. Calculations demonstrate that the measured PNH3 (2 X 10(-3) cm/s) is high enough and the measured k-1 is low enough to explain ammonia secretion rates seen in previous studies. We conclude that proton secretion in the CCD generates an acidic luminal disequilibrium pH, associated with an absolute lack of luminal carbonic anhydrase, which enhances the net rate of NH3 secretion.

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