To determine the relative effects of systemic pH, PCO2, and bicarbonate concentration on colonic electrolyte transport, states of acute metabolic acidosis and alkalosis were created in Sprague-Dawley rats by gavage feeding (NH4)2SO4 and NaHCO3, respectively. During in situ perfusion of the distal colon in pentobarbital-anesthetized animals, electrolyte transport was measured before and after respiratory compensation of the systemic pH. Acute respiratory acidosis and alkalosis also were studied by ventilating animals with 0, 3, or 8% CO2. When animals in all groups were considered, net sodium absorption correlated well with blood PCO2 (r = 0.99) but not with blood pH. Net bicarbonate secretion correlated with the plasma (r = 0.95) and luminal (r = -0.63) bicarbonate concentrations but not with blood pH or PCO2. Net chloride absorption correlated with both blood PCO2 (r = 0.92) and the plasma bicarbonate concentration (r = 0.80). These results suggest that systemic PCO2 affects a sodium chloride absorptive process and that the plasma bicarbonate concentration affects a chloride absorptive-bicarbonate secretory exchange process in the rat colon.
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