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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2006 Feb;290(2):C524-38. Epub 2005 Aug 31.

Spectral imaging microscopy demonstrates cytoplasmic pH oscillations in glial cells.

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Departamento de Fisiología y Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.


Glial cells exhibit distinct cellular domains, somata, and filopodia. Thus the cytoplasmic pH (pH(cyt)) and/or the behavior of the fluorescent ion indicator might be different in these cellular domains because of distinct microenvironments. To address these issues, we loaded C6 glial cells with carboxyseminaphthorhodafluor (SNARF)-1 and evaluated pH(cyt) using spectral imaging microscopy. This approach allowed us to study pH(cyt) in discrete cellular domains with high temporal, spatial, and spectral resolution. Because there are differences in the cell microenvironment that may affect the behavior of SNARF-1, we performed in situ titrations in discrete cellular regions of single cells encompassing the somata and filopodia. The in situ titration parameters apparent acid-base dissociation constant (pK'(a)), maximum ratio (R(max)), and minimum ratio (R(min)) had a mean coefficient of variation approximately six times greater than those measured in vitro. Therefore, the individual in situ titration parameters obtained from specific cellular domains were used to estimate the pH(cyt) of each region. These studies indicated that glial cells exhibit pH(cyt) heterogeneities and pH(cyt) oscillations in both the absence and presence of physiological HCO(3)(-). The amplitude and frequency of the pH(cyt) oscillations were affected by alkalosis, by acidosis, and by inhibitors of the ubiquitous Na(+)/H(+) exchanger- and HCO(3)(-)-based H(+)-transporting mechanisms. Optical imaging approaches used in conjunction with BCECF as a pH probe corroborated the existence of pH(cyt) oscillations in glial cells.

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