Amiloride and the more potent amiloride analog, 5-(N-t-butyl) amiloride (t-butylamiloride), were used to examine the role of the Na+/H+ antiporter in bicarbonate absorption in the in vivo microperfused rat proximal convoluted tubule. Bicarbonate absorption was inhibited 29, 46, and 47% by 0.9 mM or 4.3 mM amiloride, or 1 mM t-butylamiloride, respectively. Sensitivity of the Na+/H+ antiporter to these compounds in vivo was examined using fluorescent measurements of intracellular pH with (2', 7')-bis(carboxyethyl)-(5,6)-carboxyfluorescein (BCECF). Amiloride and t-butylamiloride were shown to be as potent against the antiporter in vivo as in brush border membrane vesicles. A model of proximal tubule bicarbonate absorption was used to correct for changes in the luminal profiles for pH and inhibitor concentration, and for changes in luminal flow rate in the various series. We conclude that the majority of apical membrane proton secretion involved in transepithelial bicarbonate absorption is mediated by the Na+-dependent, amiloride-sensitive Na+H+ antiporter. However, a second mechanism of proton secretion contributes significantly to bicarbonate absorption. This mechanism is Na+-independent and amiloride-insensitive.
P A Preisig, H E Ives, E J Cragoe Jr, R J Alpern, F C Rector Jr