On the mechanism of luminal CO2 generation during jejunal bicarbonate absorption

Am J Physiol. 1984 Jun;246(6 Pt 1):G687-94. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1984.246.6.G687.


The mechanism of the increase in luminal CO2 tension (PCO2) that accompanies jejunal HCO-3 absorption is unknown. One possibility is that mucosal metabolism and the reaction of absorbed HCO-3 with blood buffers in mucosal capillaries govern luminal PCO2. To evaluate this possibility, jejunal segments of anesthetized adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were perfused in vivo with modified Ringer solutions with varying PCO2 levels (0-141 mmHg). Arterial PCO2 was varied by mechanical ventilation (20-70 mmHg). The net flux of CO2 gas into bulk luminal fluid varied directly with the transmucosal PCO2 gradient both in the absence (r = 0.98, P less than 0.001) and presence of net HCO-3 absorption (r = 0.97, P less than 0.001). The apparent permeability coefficient for CO2 gas across the jejunal mucosa was relatively low (2 X 10(-4) cm3 X s-1 X cm length -1) and was not affected by net HCO-3 absorption. Under conditions of equal arterial blood and perfusate PCO2 levels (40 mmHg), the PCO2 in mucosa and effluent was 51 and 44 mmHg, respectively, in the absence and 62 and 48 mmHg, respectively, in the presence of net HCO-3 absorption. These results suggest that CO2 diffuses from the mucosal region into bulk liminal fluid during net HCO-3 absorption in the rat jejunum. In addition, we found in vitro that the elevation of mucosal PCO2 above arterial PCO2 during net HCO-3 absorption can be quantitatively accounted for by metabolism and the admixture of absorbed HCO-3 with blood buffers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Bicarbonates / metabolism*
  • Bicarbonates / pharmacology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Carbon Dioxide / biosynthesis*
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Chlorides / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Jejunum / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Partial Pressure
  • Permeability
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sodium / metabolism


  • Bicarbonates
  • Chlorides
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Sodium