The patterns of bicarbonate reabsorption during increasing plasma concentrations were studied in subjects with a range of glomerular filtration rates (GFR) from 170 to 2 ml/min. In a group of five subjects with GFR values above 30 ml/min, paired bicarbonate titration studies were performed first under conditions which minimized extracellular fluid (ECF) volume expansion, and second under conditions which were conducive to exaggerated expansion of ECF volume. In patients with GFR values below 30 ml/min, a single protocol was employed. Studies also were performed on two patients with far advanced renal disease who were nephrotic and exhibited a sodium-retaining state. When ECF volume expansion was minimized in the nonuremic subjects, values for bicarbonate reabsorption were well in excess of the usually accepted Tm level and over the range of plasma bicarbonate concentrations employed, no evidence of a Tm phenomenon was observed. A similar pattern emerged in the two nephrotic patients despite the presence of uremia. However, with both exaggerated expansion of ECF volume (GFR greater than 30) and in patients with advanced renal disease in the absence of exaggerated ECF volume expansion a tendency towards saturation kinetics for bicarbonate reabsorption was demonstrable. In comparing the minimized with the exaggerated expansion studies, evidence emerged for a decrease in both bicarbonate reabsorption per unit of GFR and the absolute rate of bicarbonate reabsorption. When ECF volume expansion was exaggerated in uremic patients after stable rates of bicarbonate reabsorption had been achieved, a decrease in reabsorption per unit of GFR and in absolute bicarbonate reabsorption occurred. The possible relationship of the factors controlling sodium excretion to the observed patterns of bicarbonate reabsorption is considered in the text.
Eduardo Slatopolsky, Phillip Hoffsten, Mabel Purkerson, Neal S. Bricker