Role of intracellular pH during cytoprotection of proximal tubule cells by glycine or acidosis

Joel M. Weinberg, Julie A. Davis, Nancy F. Roeser, Manjeri A. Venkatachalam

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31 Scopus citations


Lowering extracellular pH to less than 7.0 strongly protects isolated proximal tubules against ATP depletion and Ca2+-induced injury, but there is little information about alterations of intracellular pH (pHi) in renal tubules during either injury or its modification by decreasing medium pH or other potent protective factors such as glycine. pHi was assessed with 2′,7′-bis-(2-carboxyethyl)-5-carboxyfluorescein during proximal tubule injury produced by simple ATP depletion with the electron transport inhibitor antimycin or by large increases of cytosolic free Ca2+ induced by treatment with the calcium ionophore ionomycin, alone and in combination with antimycin. Freshly isolated rabbit proximal tubules studied under superfusion conditions in the presence of probenecid were suitable for monitoring pHi during relatively prolonged and severe injury states. Probenecid, used to promote the retention of intracellular fluorophores, only minimally modified the injury response by transiently delaying lactate dehydrogenase release during antimycin treatment. The tubules did not exhibit spontaneous decreases of pHi during simple ATP depletion, but pHi fully equilibrated with cytoprotective decreases of medium pH. Irrespective of the presence of antimycin, ionomycin induced intracellular alkalinization in Ca2+-replete medium, which may have further enhanced the severity of injury. When medium Ca2+ was buffered to 100 nM, ionomycin induced intracellular acidification, which likely resulted from a combination of Ca2+/H+ exchange activity of the ionophore and H+ uptake during Ca2+-ATPase-mediated extrusion of Ca2 released by ionomycin from intracellular pools. Alterations of pHi did not contribute to glycine cytoprotection because glycine did not affect the behavior of pHi during treatment with antimycin, ionomycin, or both agents in combination. The lack of effect of glycine on pHi makes it likely that complementary cytoprotective actions of glycine and reduced pH will be relevant to understanding both In vitro models of injury and in vivo ischemic states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1314-1323
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994


  • Antimycin
  • Calcium ATP
  • Hypoxia
  • Ionomycin
  • Probenecid
  • Rabbit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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