What is the role of hydrogen ions in the pathogenesis of metabolic acidosis?

Updated: Oct 10, 2018
  • Author: Christie P Thomas, MBBS, FRCP, FASN, FAHA; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

In body fluids, the concentration of hydrogen ions ([H+]) is maintained within very narrow limits, with the normal physiologic concentration being 40 nEq/L. The concentration of HCO3- (24 mEq/L) is 600,000 times that of [H+]. The tight regulation of [H+] at this low concentration is crucial for normal cellular activities because H+ at higher concentrations can bind strongly to negatively charged proteins, including enzymes, and impair their function.


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