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Intracellular pH (pHi) and Na (aina) were recorded in isolated sheep cardiac Purkinje fibres using ion-selective microelectrodes while simultaneously recording twitch tension. A fall of pHi stimulated acid-extrusion via sarcolemmal Na-H exchange but the extrusion was inhibited by reducing extracellular pH (pHo), indicating an inhibitory effect of external H ions upon the exchanger. Intracellular acidosis can reduce contraction by directly reducing myofibrillar Ca2+ sensitivity. The activation of Na-H exchange at low pHi can offset this direct inhibitory effect of H+ ions since exchange-activation elevates aina which then indirectly elevates Ca2+i (via Na-Ca exchange) thus tending to restore tension. This protection of contraction during intracellular acidosis can be removed if extracellular pH is also allowed to fall since, under these conditions, Na-H exchange is inhibited.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell Biochem

Publication Date





157 - 162


Acidosis, Animals, Calcium, Carrier Proteins, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Ion Exchange, Membrane Potentials, Myocardial Contraction, Myocardium, Purkinje Fibers, Sheep, Sodium, Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers