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Am J Physiol. 1982 May;242(5):F544-51.

Effects of pH on potassium transport by renal distal tubule.


To determine the relative importance of plasma and luminal pH changes as factors regulating potassium secretion by rat distal tubule, superficial tubules were continuously microperfused in vivo. The effects of changes in plasma pH were examined by producing acute systemic metabolic acidosis or alkalosis and holding luminal flow rate, solute composition, and pH constant by microperfusion. Alternatively, the effect of luminal solution pH was evaluated by microperfusing tubules with solutions buffered to either pH 6.5 or 8.0 at constant systemic acid-base balance. Net transport of Na and K and the pH of the luminal fluid were measured. Results showed that metabolic acidosis inhibited and metabolic alkalosis stimulated potassium secretion. Increased luminal fluid pH, in contrast, did not stimulate potassium transport. In experiments in which metabolic acidosis produced a diuresis, urinary potassium excretion was enhanced compared with hydropenic controls. Free-flow micropuncture studies revealed that the rate of fluid delivery to the distal tubule was 45% greater during acidosis compared with control and that potassium secretion increased in both the distal and collecting tubule. Since the rate of fluid delivery is a potent stimulus of potassium secretion in the distal tubule, it is concluded that the stimulus of increased delivery of fluid, observed in free-flow conditions, masked the inhibitory effect of acidosis on potassium transport. Potassium transport by the distal tubule, during acid-base disorders, is regulated by plasma pH and the rate of delivery of fluid but is not stimulated by alkalinization of the luminal fluid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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