We have examined in detail the correlations between protein synthesis rates, intracellular pH (pHi) and the concentrations of creatine metabolites in the rat heart perfused anterogradely in vitro. Using perfusion buffers ranging from pH 7.2 to 8.2 at 37 degrees C, we were able to manipulate pHi from between 7.24 to 7.66, i.e. from the slightly acidotic to the alkalinotic as compared with the physiological values of pHi (about pH 7.29). The dependence of pHi on extracellular pH (pHo) was linear, with the value of delta pHi/delta pHo being 0.4-0.5. Protein synthesis rates were significantly stimulated when pHi was increased above its physiological value, and they were strongly correlated with pHi. They were also strongly correlated with phosphocreatine concentrations (and with creatine concentrations and phosphocreatine/creatine concentration ratios). Adenine nucleotide (ATP, ADP and AMP) concentrations and the ATP/ADP concentration ratio were not systematically altered by manipulating pHi, and protein synthesis rates showed only a relatively weak dependence on these variables. Since creatine kinase catalyses a reaction that is close to equilibrium in the perfused heart, and since phosphorylation of creatine involves release of a proton, we argue that the changes in phosphocreatine and creatine concentrations are manifestations of alterations in pHi. In this regard, we show that [log[(phosphocreatine]/[creatine]) + log [(ADP]/[ATP])] [the value of which gives [pHi–log (mass action ratio)]] is positively correlated with pHi, although the slope of the line is 0.7, as opposed to the ideal value of unity. We discuss three hypotheses to account for our observations: (i) protein synthesis rates are influenced directly by pHi, (ii) pHi affects the concentrations of creatine metabolites, which in turn affect protein synthesis rates, and (iii) pHi affects the value of an unidentified co-variable, which in turn affects protein synthesis.

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