In vivo experiments were carried out to determine the relative effects of carbonic anhydrase (CA) infusion or inhibition on carbon dioxide (CO2) transport and acid-base status in the arterial and venous blood of sea lampreys recovering from exhaustive exercise. Infusion of CA into the extracellular fluid did not significantly affect CO2 transport or acid-base status in exercised lampreys. In contrast, infusion of the CA inhibitor acetazolamide resulted in a respiratory acidosis in the blood of recovering lampreys. In acetazolamide-treated lampreys, the post-exercise extracellular pH (pHe) of arterial blood was significantly lower than that in the saline-infused (control) lampreys. The calculated arterial and venous partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) and the total CO2 concentration in whole blood (CCO2wb) and red blood cells (CCO2rbc) during recovery in the acetazolamide-infused lampreys were also significantly greater than those values in the saline-infused control lampreys. These results suggest that the CO2 reactions in the extracellular compartment of lampreys may already be in equilibrium and that the access of plasma bicarbonate to CA is probably not the sole factor limiting CO2 transport in these animals. Furthermore, endogenous red blood cell CA clearly has an important role in CO2 transport in exercising lampreys.

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