Inorganic phosphate and lactate potentiate the pressor response to acidic stimuli in rats

Guillaume P. Ducrocq, Marc P. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


New Findings: What is the central question of this study? What is the contribution of the main acidic compounds accumulated during contractions, namely H+, lactic acid and inorganic phosphate, to evoke the metabolic component of the exercise pressor reflex? What is the main finding and its importance? We found that the pressor response to acidic stimuli is driven by the concentration of hydrogen ions and that lactate and inorganic phosphate act as potentiating agents. Abstract: H+ ions, lactate and inorganic phosphate are produced by contracting skeletal muscles and evoke, in part, the metabolic component of the exercise pressor reflex. Owing to their disparate dissociation constants (i.e. pKa), the contribution of each acid to the muscle metaboreflex is unclear. This lack of information prompted us to determine the reflex pressor responses to injection of acidic saline, lactate (24 mm) and inorganic phosphate (86 mm) at various values of pH (from 2.66 to 7.5), alone or in combination, into the arterial supply of hindlimb skeletal muscle of decerebrate rats. In particular, we tested the hypothesis that the pressor response to an injection of a combination of lactate and phosphate at an acidic pH is greater than that evoked by injection of either phosphate or lactate alone at the same pH. We found that injection of acidic saline produced a pressor response only at a pH of 2.66 (7 ± 4 mmHg), an effect that was potentiated when the solution contained lactate (50 ± 20 mmHg). At a pH of 6.0, however, this effect was lost. At a pH of 6.0, only the injection of inorganic phosphate produced a significant pressor response (23 ± 12 mmHg). A large potentiating effect was found when lactate was added to the inorganic phosphate solution (39 ± 18 mmHg), an effect that was lost at a pH >7.0. Our findings led to the conclusion that the pressor response to injection of acidic solutions was driven by H+ ions and that inorganic phosphate and lactate functioned as sensitizing agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExperimental Physiology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • autonomic control
  • chemoreflex
  • diprotonated phosphate
  • exercise pressor reflex
  • metaboreflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)


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