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Five healthy male subjects were continuously infused subcutaneously with [14C]bicarbonate (12.3 microCi/day) using a mini pump for 5 days while in a whole body calorimeter. Energy expenditure was varied over a range of 1.35-1.75 times basal metabolic rate. Urine collections were obtained throughout the study and used to measure the specific activity of urea, from which CO2 production was estimated. It was assumed that the recovery of label in gaseous CO2 was 95% of that infused and that the specific activity of urea was 85% that of expired CO2. Continuous daily collections of calorimeter air revealed that 95.6 +/- 1.3% (SD) of infused label was recovered as gaseous CO2, with little daily variation. Another 1.5 +/- 0.4% was recovered as urinary urea. The estimated CO2 production, calculated from the specific activity of urea in 24-h urine samples corrected for the small effects due to changes in the size and specific activity of the urea pool, was found to be 100 +/- 5% of the calorimeter estimate for 1-day periods (20.80 +/- 1.44 mol CO2/day) and 100 +/- 2% for 4-day periods. This study suggests that, in healthy subjects, the labeled [14C]bicarbonate-urea method can provide reasonable estimates of net CO2 production over the range examined.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Physiol

Publication Date





E172 - E182


Adult, Body Weight, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Radioisotopes, Circadian Rhythm, Energy Metabolism, Forecasting, Humans, Injections, Subcutaneous, Male, Sodium Bicarbonate, Urea