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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1977 Feb;55(1):13-20.

Effects of saline infusion and acute metabolic acidosis and alkalosis on water and electrolyte transport in the human colon.


Both the kidney and colon secrete bicarbonate and transport water and electrolytes. The respective contributions of these two organs to acid-base and electrolyte balance in normal man has thus been studied in eight healthy male volunteers who underwent simultaneous renal clearance studies, and colonic perfusion with a 0.9% saline or 7.2% mannitol solution, during metabolic alkalosis and acidosis, extracellular volume expansion, and control conditions. There was no influence of these acid-base conditions on electrolyte transport in the colon. In the urine, preferential loss of chloride over sodium averaged 81, 143 (P less than 0.001), and 141 (P less than 0.05) muequiv./min, during control, metabolic acidosis, and extracellular volume expansion conditions, respectively. During alkalosis more sodium than chloride was lost (146 muequiv./min) (P less than 0.001). Colonic pH averaged 7.41 during saline and 6.75 (P less than 0.005) during mannitol perfusion. Titratable acid was not produced in the colon during saline perfusion, and averaged 18 muequiv./min during mannitol perfusion. Urinary titratable acid increased from 19 to 25 muequiv./min (P less than 0.01) during volume expansion. With saline perfusion, bicarbonate secretion rate in the colon rose from 249 muequiv./min during control conditions to 289 muequiv./min during metabolic alkalosis (P less than 0.05). More bicarbonate was excreted in the urine during alkalosis when mannitol was introduced in the colon (243 muequiv./min) than when saline was perfused (152 muequiv./min) (P less than 0.05). This study indicates that the response of the human colon is trivial compared with that of the kidney during acute changes in acid-base balance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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