Determination of intracellular pH and PCO2 after metabolic inhibition by fluoride and nitrilotriacetic acid

Respir Physiol. 1990 Aug;81(2):255-73. doi: 10.1016/0034-5687(90)90050-9.


Mean intracellular pH (pHi) and PCO2 (PiCO2) have been analysed based on pH and total CO2 measurements in tissue homogenates. Tissues were sampled from undisturbed worms (Sipunculus nudus), squid (Illex illecebrosus), trout (Salmo gairdneri), toads (Bufo marinus), and rats. Homogenate metabolism was inhibited by the addition of potassium fluoride and nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA). Model calculations revealed that the influence of dilution, medium buffers, and contamination by extracellular fluids was negligible. In white muscle tissue the resulting pHi values were virtually the same as found in studies using DMO (dimethyloxazolidinedione). If large fractions of mitochondria were present (e.g. in heart muscle), DMO derived pHi values were considerably higher, probably representing overestimates. Homogenate derived pHi values are concluded to represent the effective mean pHi by taking into account pH gradients, and the volumes and buffering of cellular compartments. High time resolution and small variability make this method especially useful to assess rapid changes in pHi, e.g. in exercising animals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium
  • Animals
  • Bufo marinus
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Decapodiformes
  • Fluorides*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Intracellular Fluid / drug effects*
  • Nematoda
  • Nitrilotriacetic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Potassium / pharmacology*
  • Potassium Compounds*
  • Rats
  • Trout


  • Potassium Compounds
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • potassium fluoride
  • Nitrilotriacetic Acid
  • Fluorides
  • Potassium