What is the role of buffers 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...
  • Print
Answer

Buffers are weak acids or bases that are able to minimize changes in pH by taking up or releasing H+. Phosphate is an example of an effective buffer, as in the following reaction:

HPO42- + (H+)↔H2 PO4-

Upon addition of an H+ to extracellular fluids, the monohydrogen phosphate binds H+ to form dihydrogen phosphate, minimizing the change in pH. Similarly, when [H+] is decreased, the reaction is shifted to the left. Thus, buffers work as a first-line of defense to blunt the changes in pH that would otherwise result from the constant daily addition of acids and bases to body fluids.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!