Maintaining acid base balance presents a considerable challenge to the growing neonate. The infant must ingest protein for growth and development. The metabolism of sulfur containing amino acids leads to the production of protons that must be secreted by the kidney. In addition, the formation of hydroxyapatite for the mineralization of growing bone also leads to acid production. Thus, the growing infant must excrete approximately 2 to 3 mEq of acid per kilogram of body weight per day to avoid becoming acidotic. The mechanisms for excreting acid undergo complex maturational changes that predispose the neonate, and the premature neonate in particular, to a great risk for the development of acidosis. In addition, infants are susceptible to gastrointestinal disturbances that can lead to acidosis due to acute loss of bicarbonate in the stool. The kidney is then responsible for the production of new bicarbonate to restore the body's acid base balance. There are also a number of inherited disorders in the kidney that affect acid secretion and lead to acid base disturbances in neonates. This review discusses the mechanisms by which the kidney is capable of excreting acid as well as the developmental regulation of these processes and the basis of inherited disorders of acidification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology