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Intracellular pH (pHi) is an important modulator of cardiac function. The spatial regulation of pH within the cytoplasm depends, in part, on intracellular H+ (Hi+) mobility. The apparent diffusion coefficient for Hi+, DHapp, was estimated in single ventricular myocytes isolated from the rat, guinea pig, and rabbit. DHapp was derived by best-fitting predictions of a two-dimensional model of H+ diffusion to the local rise of intracellular [H+], recorded confocally (ratiometric seminaphthorhodafluor fluorescence) downstream from an acid-filled, whole cell patch pipette. Under CO2/HCO3--free conditions, DHapp was similar in all three species (mean values: 8-12.5 x 10-7 cm2/s) and was over 200-fold lower than that for H+ in water. In guinea pig myocytes, DHapp was increased 2.5-fold in the presence of CO2/HCO3- buffer, in agreement with previous observations in rabbit myocytes. Hi+ mobility is therefore low in cardiac cells, a feature that may predispose them to the generation of pHi gradients in response to sarcolemmal acid/base transport or local cytoplasmic acid production. Low Hi+ mobility most likely results from H+ shuttling among cytoplasmic mobile and fixed buffers. This hypothesis was explored by comparing the pHi dependence of intrinsic, intracellular buffering capacity, measured for all three species, and subdividing buffering into mobile and fixed fractions. The proportion of buffer that is mobile will be the main determinant of DHapp. At a given pHi, this proportion appeared to be similar in all three species, consistent with a common value for DHapp. Over the pHi range of 6.0-8.0, the proportion is expected to change, predicting that DHapp may display some pHi sensitivity.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

Publication Date





H1236 - H1246


Acid-Base Equilibrium, Acids, Animals, Benzopyrans, Bicarbonates, Buffers, Diffusion, Fluorescent Dyes, Guinea Pigs, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, In Vitro Techniques, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Myocytes, Cardiac, Naphthols, Protons, Rabbits, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Rhodamines