We have performed microperfusion studies on distal tubules of normal and alkalotic rats in an attempt to demonstrate in vivo bicarbonate secretion. All perfusion solutions were free of phosphate and other nonbicarbonate buffers. In both normal and alkalotic rats, distal perfusions elicited significant tCO2 entry only at high flow (24 nl/min). Even when perfusate tCO2 concentration closely matched plasma tCO2 concentration (30 mM tCO2), significant tCO2 entry again occurred at high flow. This was associated with a rise of the perfusate tCO2 concentration, which indicated net entry of tCO2 against a concentration gradient. In this "symmetrical" perfusion situation, acetazolamide blockade prevented tCO2 entry. Accordingly: distal tubule tCO2 entry is demonstrable in both alkalotic and normal rats at high flow rates; increasing perfusate tCO2 concentration can suppress tCO2 entry; and entry can occur in the absence of a gradient and this effect can be blocked by acetazolamide.
M Iacovitti, L Nash, L N Peterson, J Rochon, D Z Levine