We have performed microperfusion studies on distal tubule bicarbonate reabsorption (JtCO2) of fed and fasted rats to extend our previous observations of in vivo bicarbonate secretion and to resolve certain discrepancies between free-flow and microperfusion data. When rats are fasted overnight, as in previous free-flow studies, distal tubule microperfusion with a 28-mM tCO2 solution results in significant JtCO2 (53 +/- 6 pmol.min-1.mm-1) at normal flow and increases briskly (91 +/- 16 pmol.min-1.mm-1) with bicarbonate load. This response is not influenced by the addition of other normal tubular fluid constituents. However, when normally fed rats are used, as in our previous microperfusion studies, distal tubule JtCO2 is not different from zero when a 28-mM tCO2 solution is perfused at normal flow rates but becomes negative (-54 +/- 13 pmol.min-1.mm-1) at high flow rates, which indicates the existence of bicarbonate secretion against a concentration gradient. Alkali loading of fasted rats also elicits bicarbonate secretion at high flow. These results demonstrate for the first time that normal feeding or alkali loading can induce bicarbonate secretion in a mammalian nephron segment in vivo, and resolves previous discrepancies between free-flow and microperfusion data.
D Z Levine, M Iacovitti, L Nash, D Vandorpe