OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology
The compositions of the two components of the ECF—plasma and IF—are more similar to each other than either is to the ICF. Blood plasma has high concentrations of sodium, chloride, bicarbonate, and protein. The IF has high concentrations of sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate, but a relatively lower concentration of protein. In contrast, the ICF has elevated amounts of potassium, phosphate, magnesium, and protein. Overall, the ICF contains high concentrations of potassium and phosphate ( HPO4 2 − ), whereas both plasma and the ECF contain high concentrations of sodium and chloride.
Most body fluids are neutral in charge. Thus, cations, or positively charged ions, and anions, or negatively charged ions, are balanced in fluids. As seen in the previous graph, sodium (Na+ ) ions and chloride (Cl– ) ions are concentrated in the ECF of the body, whereas potassium (K+ ) ions are concentrated inside cells. Although sodium and potassium can “leak” through “pores” into and out of cells, respectively, the high levels of potassium and low levels of sodium in the ICF are maintained by sodium-potassium pumps in the cell membranes. These pumps use the energy supplied by ATP to pump sodium out of the cell and potassium into the cell.
Betts, J. G., Young, K. A., Wise, J. A., Johnson, E., Poe, B., Kruse, D. H., … DeSaix, P. (n.d.). Anatomy and Physiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax.
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