Sep 1, 1976

Comparison of microelectrode, DMO, and methylamine methods for measuring intracellular pH

The American Journal of Physiology
W F Boron, A Roos


The intracellular pH (pHi) of giant barnacle muscle fibers was measured with glass microelectrodes and also calculated from the distribution of 5,5-dimethyl-2,4-oxazolidinedione (DMO) and methylamine (MA). Simultaneously applying any two of these methods to muscle fibers of the same barnacle, we found the pH measured with an intracellular electrode (pH-Elec) to be about 0.06 higher than the DMO-derived pH (pH-DMO), and pH-DMO to be about 0.10 higher than the MA-derived pH (p-ma). in studies on the pHi of squid giant axons, we found that pH-Elec (7.35) and pH-DMO (7.36) were not significantly different. In the barnacle experiments, DMO required about 30 min to reach a steady-state distribution, while MA required more than 5 h. The deviations of pH-DMO and pH-MA from pH-Elec for the barnacle can be explained by a) an error in the assumed intracellular pKa' of DMO or MA, b) membrane permeability to the ionic form of DMO or MA, or c) intracellular compartmentalization. Included is a detailed study of the apparent dissociation constant of DMO as affected by temperature, and ionic strength and composition.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Intracellular Fluid
Body Fluids
Hydrogen-Ion Concentration

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