The in vitro preparation of the chick retina can be used to show the occurrence of transient changes in the intracellular pH and of energy metabolites which occurs during spreading depression (SD). There is an initial increase in intracellular pH associated with elevated values for ADP, P-Creatine, lactate and pyruvate, an intermediary acid shift with increases in ATP values and decreases in ADP, and a late alkaline rebound where P-Creatine levels are reduced and the content of ADP and lactate are elevated. These transient changes in intracellular pH observed during SD, when correlated to the levels of energy metabolites, supports the hypothesis that the intracellular pH can be used by the tissue as a mechanism to rapidly modify the metabolic activities of neurons and glial cells. We suggest that the first alkaline shift is caused by glial cells and the intermediary acid shift by neurons. However, a specific cell could not be pointed out as responsible for the late alkaline shift but it could explain the refractoriness of the neurons during the phenomenon.