Peritoneal dialysis (PD) contributes to restore acid-base homeostasis in patients with end-stage renal disease. The transport pathways for buffers and carbon dioxide (CO2) across the peritoneal membrane remain poorly understood.
Combining well-established PD protocols, whole-body plethysmography and renal function studies in mice, we investigated molecular mechanisms of acid-base regulation in PD, including the potential role of the water channel aquaporin-1 (AQP1).
After instillation in peritoneal cavity, the pH of acidic dialysis solutions increased within minutes to rapidly equilibrate with blood pH, whereas the neutral pH of biocompatible solutions remained constant. Predictions from the three-pore model of peritoneal transport suggested that local production of HCO3- accounts at least in part for the changes in intraperitoneal pH observed with acidic solutions. Carbonic anhydrase (CA) isoforms were evidenced in the peritoneal membrane and their inhibition with acetazolamide significantly decreased local production of HCO3- and delayed changes in intraperitoneal pH. On the contrary, genetic deletion of AQP1 had no effect on peritoneal transport of buffers and diffusion of CO2. Besides intraperitoneal modifications, the use of acidic dialysis solutions enhanced acid excretion both at pulmonary and renal levels.
These findings suggest that changes in intraperitoneal pH during PD are mediated by bidirectional buffer transport and by CA-mediated production of HCO3- in the membrane. The use of acidic solutions enhances acid excretion through respiratory and renal responses, which should be considered in patients with renal failure.