What Are the Effects of Metabolic Acidosis on an Enzyme-Catalyzed Chemical Reaction?

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Metabolic acidosis affects enzyme catalyzed reactions in a wide variety of different ways. Find out about the effects of metabolic acidosis on enzyme catalyzed reactions with help from an experienced chemistry professional in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dan Weisenberger, and this is what are the effects of metabolic acidosis on an enzyme catalyzed reaction. Well let's start by discussing what metabolic acidosis is, and that is simply put as increased levels of acidity in the blood, or the failure of the kidney to produce enough bicarbonate to neutralize whatever acid is in the blood already. And this comes primarily from physical exercise, but it also is a result of a restrictive diet and diabetes. And what happens is that to counteract the effects of metabolic acidosis, the heart rate and breathing increase to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Now, enzymatic reactions are very susceptible to changes in pH, so if we look at enzyme activity on the y-axis versus pH on the x-axis, we see that it generally takes a bell-shaped curve in which very low or very high pH levels are inhibitory to enzyme function, and it has a maximum, usually at biological pH which is something like 7.5. Now, how is this important with regulating acid in the blood, and it turns out that the blood is buffered by a carbonic acid carbonate buffering system in which hydrogen ions interact with bicarbonate, that HCO3, to form carbonic acid. And if the hydrogen ion concentrations are too high, this will occupy and bind to the levels of bicarbonate in blood and will force the formation of carbonic acid, which then breaks down into water and carbon dioxide, and as a result of the increased carbon dioxide load, we breathe heavier and more rapidly to exhale this out of our, out of our selves and out of our bloodstream. So, if the acidity levels are too high though, then it becomes quite a health risk for the individual in that I believe that below pH of 7.35 one would enter into acidemia, which is a very severe medical condition in which the breathing increases at a rate so high, and the heart rate then increases to account for that, that the individual then suffers major physiological effects that could be lethal. And finally to wrap up, because acidosis is increased levels of acidity in the blood, these are important then in altering the activity of enzymes that are influenced by pH, and increased acidity could mean an impairment or a reduction in the efficacy in which enzyme catalyzed reactions can occur. I'm Dan Weisenberger, and this is what are the effects of metabolic acidosis on an enzyme's activity.


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