Quantification of in vivo anaerobic metabolism in the normal cat retina through intraretinal pH measurements

Lissa Padnick-Silver, Robert A. Linsenmeier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We examined intraretinal [H+] in the intact retina of anesthetized cats using H+-sensitive microelectrodes to obtain spatial profiles of extracellular [H+]. One H+ is produced when an anaerobically generated ATP is utilized. We theorized that H+ production directly reflects anaerobic glucose consumption. From the choroid (pH ∼ 7.40), [H+]O steadily increased to a maximum concentration in the proximal portion of the outer nuclear layer (pH∼7.20). The shape of the profile was always concave down, indicating that a net production of H+ occurred across the avascular outer retina. A three-layer diffusion model of the outer retina was developed and fitted to the data to quantify photoreceptor H+ extrusion into the extracellular space (QOR-H+). It was determined that the outer segment (OS) layer had negligible H+ extrusion. The data were then refitted to a special three-layer model in which the OS layer QH+ was set equal to zero, but in which the inner segments and outer nuclear layer produced H+. The resulting QOR-H+ was several orders of magnitude lower than previous measurements of QOR-lactate, which were based on choroidal mass balances of lactate. Stoichiometrically, one H+ is produced for each lactate produced, so we concluded that QOR-H+ is a measure of net rather than total H+ production. Because retinal acid production is so high, the retina must contain efficient H+ clearance and/or neutralization mechanisms that prevent severe acidosis. The effect of light on retinal extracellular [H+] and QOR-H+ was also examined. As expected, light adaptation caused a retinal alkalinization that resulted from a 52% reduction in QOR-H+. This is in agreement with previous studies that have shown that both oxidative (e.g. Haugh et al., 1990) and glycolytic metabolism (Wang et al., 1997a,c) in the photoreceptor are decreased by a factor of 2 during light adaptation. Although we could not obtain absolute values for outer retinal glycolysis, changes in QOR- H+, appear to directly reflect changes in glycolytic metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-806
Number of pages14
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2002


  • Cat
  • Glycolysis
  • Photoreceptor
  • Retina
  • pH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantification of in vivo anaerobic metabolism in the normal cat retina through intraretinal pH measurements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this