Ammonia and bicarbonate transport by rat cortical collecting ducts perfused in vitro

Am J Physiol. 1985 Dec;249(6 Pt 2):F870-7. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.1985.249.6.F870.


We measured bicarbonate and ammonia transport by isolated perfused cortical collecting ducts from deoxycorticosterone-treated rats. With no ammonia in the perfusate and bath solutions, the collecting ducts secreted bicarbonate. The bicarbonate secretion was prevented when the rats were given 40 mM NH4Cl to drink. When 4 mM total ammonia was added to the perfusate and bath, the collecting ducts secreted ammonia and the direction of bicarbonate transport reversed toward absorption. Under those conditions the collected total ammonia concentration exceeded the value predicted by the diffusion-trapping model, assuming pH equilibrium. However, when carbonic anhydrase was added to the perfusate (to assure pH equilibrium), the collected total ammonia concentration decreased to the level predicted by the diffusion-trapping model. We conclude that rat cortical collecting ducts can secrete bicarbonate at substantial rates; the rate of bicarbonate secretion is modified by changes in the acid-base intake of the rats; ammonia secretion occurs by simple nonionic diffusion in this segment; the ammonia secretion is enhanced by the presence of acidic pH disequilibrium in the lumen; and ammonia in the perfusion and bath solutions inhibits bicarbonate secretion by rat cortical collecting ducts, a response that may be important for the regulation of renal bicarbonate excretion.

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia / metabolism*
  • Ammonium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Bicarbonates / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport, Active / drug effects
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / metabolism
  • Desoxycorticosterone / pharmacology
  • Diet
  • Kidney Cortex / drug effects
  • Kidney Cortex / metabolism*
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism*
  • Kidney Tubules, Collecting / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules, Collecting / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Perfusion
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Bicarbonates
  • Ammonium Chloride
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Desoxycorticosterone
  • Ammonia
  • Carbonic Anhydrases