Weak acid-concentration Atot and dissociation constant Ka of plasma proteins in racehorses.
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The plasma proteins are a significant contributor to the total weak acid concentration as a net anionic charge. Due to potential species difference, species-specific values must be confirmed for the weak acid anionic concentrations of proteins (Atot) and the effective dissociation constant for plasma weak acids (Ka). We studied the net anion load Atot of equine plasma protein in 10 clinically healthy mature Standardbred horses. A multi-step titration procedure, using a tonometer covering a titration range of PCO2 from 25 to 145 mmHg at 37 degrees C, was applied on the plasma of these 10 horses. Blood gases (pH, PCO2) and electrolytes required to calculate the strong ion difference ([SID] = [(Na(+) + K(+) + Ca(2+) + Mg(2+))-(Cl(-) + Lac(-) + PO4(2-))]) were simultaneously measured over a physiological pH range from 6.90-7.55. A nonlinear regression iteration to determine Atot and Ka was performed using polygonal regression curve fitting applied to the electrical neutrality equation of the physico-chemical system. The average anion-load Atot for plasma protein of 10 Standardbred horses was 14.89 +/- 0.8 mEq/l plasma and Ka was 2.11 +/- 0.50 x 10(-7) Eq/l (pKa = 6.67). The derived conversion factor (iterated Atot concentration/average plasma protein concentration) for calculation of Atot in plasma is 0.21 mEq/g protein (protein-unit: g/l). This value compares closely with the 0.24 mEq/g protein determined by titration of Van Slyke et al. (1928) and 0.22 mEq/g protein recently published by Constable (1997) for horse plasma. The Ka value compares closely with the value experimentally determined by Constable in 1997 (2.22 x 10(7) Eq/l). Linear regression of a set of experimental data from 5 Thoroughbred horses on a treadmill exercise test, showed excellent correlation with the regression lines not different from identity for the calculated and measured variables pH, HCO3 and SID. Knowledge of Atot and Ka for the horse is useful especially in exercise studies and in clinical conditions to quantify the mechanisms of the acid-base disturbances occurring.
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