Distal acidification in the rabbit: Role of diet and blood pH

M. Cruz-Soto, D. Batlle, S. Sabatini, J. A. Arruda, N. A. Kurtzman

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A distal acidification defect is said to exist in rabbits because this species does not achieve a normal urine minus blood (U-B) PCO2 gradient in response to sodium bicarbonate infusion. This observation contrasts with data derived from studies in isolated rabbit cortical collecting tubules that have shown an acidifying capacity when the tubules were obtained from acidotic animals. The present study was designed to examine the role of diet and blood pH on distal acidification in the rabbit. Maximal alkalinization of the urine by acute sodium bicarbonate infusion was associated with a low U-B PCO2 gradient (0.7 ± 2.1 mmHg). Rabbits made acidotic by ammonium chloride administration for 1 wk achieved a substantial U-B PCO2 gradient (29 ±5 mmHg) in response to neutral sodium phosphate infusion. To further evaluate the role of blood pH on the ability to raise U-B PCO2 gradient, rabbits and rats made acidotic by chronic ammonium chloride administration were studied. Neutral sodium phosphate was then infused to stimulate distal acidification. At comparable levels of urinary phosphate concentration and blood pH, acidotic rabbits were able to achieve a U-B PCO2 gradient (50 ± 7 mmHg) comparable with that of acidotic rats (48 ± 8.3 mmHg). These data show that the failure of rabbits to raise U-B PCO2 gradient can be partially corrected by prior exposure to acid in the diet and further corrected by maintaining the blood pH within the acidotic range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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