The carbon dioxide content of the intracellular compartment of fish muscle was determined by direct measurements of CO2 and pH in tissue homogenates of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. The results agree with the concept that compartmental distribution of CO2 is pH-dependent and that muscle membranes are not very permeable to bicarbonate. The interaction between CO2 and ammonia excreted from fish muscle was also investigated by altering plasma CO2 content using bicarbonate infusion following exhaustive exercise. Removal of the acid boundary layer in white muscle by bicarbonate infusion resulted in retention of ammonia in the muscle, indicating that ammonia excretion across the muscle membrane might be enhanced by the hydration of excreted CO2 in the extracellular fluid. Passive diffusion of NH3, rather than NH4+ transfer, is probably the dominant pathway of ammonia excretion through fish muscle membranes.
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