carbonic anhydrase

Last reviewed 01/2018

Carbonic anhydrase catalyses the reaction between water and carbon dioxide to form H2CO3, which then freely dissociates to hydrogen ion and bicarbonate, acid and base respectively.

Thus, carbonic anhydrase acts to facilitate the use of H2CO3 as a buffer in the blood.

The action of carbonic anhydrase is most significant in:

  • red blood cells, to improve buffering of the blood
  • the distal collecting tubule, where it is involved in the buffering and excretory action of the kidney.