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Acid buffering systems in body

Acid / Alkaline Buffering Systems

(2) Respiratory Compensation (Gaseous exchange in the lungs)

       Buffers CO2 in blood

 

      CO2 is constantly being produced in tissues and then transported via the blood to be expelled by the lungs - This provides the body with the biggest pH-buffering job - to maintain equilibrium in the concentrations of carbon dioxide, carbonic acid and bicarbonate resulting from their continuous formation and elimination. This is not usually a problem since CO2 is easily eliminated via the lungs, and pH (H+ ion concentration) can be adjusted by altering the number of breaths / minute to increase or decrease exhalation of acidic CO2.

 

      Hydrogen ion Concentration Controls Breathing Rate

 

         An extracellular (EC) acid pH (high H+ concentration) stimulates the respiratory center in the medulla of the brain to speed up breathing rate (removing CO2 and thus carbonic acid, and so increasing pH by removing H+ ions)

 

         An EC alkaline pH (low H+ concentration) stimulates the respiratory center to slow down breathing rate

 

Consider the following reaction:      CO2 + H2O < -- > H2CO3 < -- > H+ + HCO3- 

In the tissues where carbon dioxide is abundant, the reaction is shifted to the right: 

                                                   CO2   + H2O       H2CO3     H+ +   HCO3- 

 

In the lungs where H+ ions are liberated from hemoglobin, the reaction is shifted to the left: 

                                                   CO2   + H2O       H2CO3     H+ +   HCO3-

 

      Hemoglobin absorbs H+ ions – This protein respiratory pigment of the red blood cells is a VERY IMPORTANT BUFFER in RBCs, particularly in carbonic acid buffering.

 

      If breathing decreases below normal:

 

→ Increases CO2 → increases H2CO3 → increases H+  ions → increases acidity.

         

E.g. If breathing stops for 1 minute, extracellular pH 7.1  (from normal 7.4)

                    (Alternatively, over-breathing raises EC pH to ~7.7 in 1 minute)

 

 

 

Acid/Alkaline Links

 

ACID/ALKALINE BALANCE

Related Links

ABOUT

About ACID / ALKALINE BALANCE 

-    Acidity health problems

-    Acid/Alkaline Food Charts

-    What does pH mean?

BODY’S ACID/ALKALINE BUFFERING SYSTEMS

About Acid /Alkaline Buffering Systems

-  (1) Chemical buffer systems

-    (2) Respiratory compensation

-    (3) Renal mechanisms