This study demonstrates that the apical membrane of frog retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) contains two intracellular pH (pHi) regulatory mechanisms, an electrogenic Na-HCO3 cotransporter blocked by DIDS and an amiloride-inhibitable Na-H antiporter. pHi was studied using the pH-sensitive dye 2',7'-bis(2-carboxyethyl)-5,6-carboxyfluorescein (BCECF). In these cells resting pHi equals 7.26 +/- 0.09 (n = 58). After an acid load (NH4Cl prepulse), pHi recovery required apical extracellular Na concentration ([Na]o) in HCO3 or HCO3-free Ringer. In HCO3 Ringer recovery was completely blocked by 1 mM apical DIDS (n = 5) but was not affected by absence of Cl. In HCO3-free Ringer, recovery was completely blocked by 1 mM apical amiloride (n = 3). At resting pHi, the intrinsic pH-buffering capacity of the cell is approximately 7.1 mM/pH and rises monotonically as pHi decreases. In HCO3 Ringer, the initial rate of acidification caused by apical Na removal, 0.39 +/- 0.03 pH/min (n = 26), was 80-90% inhibited by apical DIDS (n = 5) and 16% inhibited by 1 mM apical amiloride (n = 7), but not affected by absence of Cl. In HCO3 Ringer, initial rates of acidification induced by apical DIDS or amiloride were 0.11 +/- 0.06 (n = 5) and 0.03 +/- 0.02 pH/min (n = 7), respectively. These results indicate that the Na-HCO3 cotransporter accounts for 80-90% of the acid extrusion from frog RPE cells. Increasing apical [K]o from 2 to 5 mM approximates the in vivo apical [K]o changes during a light-dark transition and alkalinizes the cells. [K]o-induced alkalinization had an initial rate of 0.11 +/- 0.02 pH/min (n = 16), which was approximately 75% inhibited by apical DIDS (to 0.04 +/- 0.01 pH/min, n = 7) and completely blocked by HCO3/CO2 removal from both bathing solutions. [K]o-induced pHi changes alter RPE transport mechanisms and may affect RPE-photoreceptor interactions.
- Copyright © 1991 the American Physiological Society