• Lancet · Dec 1991

    Uraemia: is urea more important than we think?

    • J A Lee, H A Lee, and P J Sadler.
    • University Department of Pathology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
    • Lancet. 1991 Dec 7; 338 (8780): 1438-40.

    AbstractUrea is accumulated as an osmolyte by some groups of animals even though it impairs protein function. These organisms can withstand high internal urea concentrations because they also accumulate other low-molecular-weight osmolytes, the methylamines, which can offset the effects of urea on proteins. Methylamines have also been found in the medulla of the mammalian kidney (where urea concentrations are high) and in the plasma of human subjects with chronic renal failure. These findings suggest that previous investigations of the potential contribution of urea to the syndrome of uraemia may have been confounded because of the presence of variable concentrations of protective substances. That naturally occurring methylamines or related substances may prove to have a useful therapeutic role in uraemia is also possible.

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