A comparison of the compositions of the three major body fluid compartments with respect to their major ionic components is shown in Fig. 3 and summarized in Table 1. The ionic compositions of the plasma and ISF are similar, as expected, inasmuch as they are separated by highly permeable capillaries. The major difference between these two compartments arises from the fact that the capillaries are only sparingly permeable to proteins, particularly albumin, so that the protein composition of the plasma is much greater than that of the ISF. Because of the Gibbs-Donnan effect discussed in Chapter 3, this asymmetric distribution of anionic proteins brings about small asymmetries in the distributions of the permeable ionic species, principally Na+ and Cl". Thus, the concentration of Na+ in the plasma is between 5 and 10% greater than that in the ISF, and the concentrations of Cl" and bicarbonate in the ISF fluid are between 5 and 10% greater than those in the plasma.
The ICF, separated from the ''Cambrian sea within us'' by highly selective cell membranes, has a
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