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The biological roles of urea: A review of preclinical studies

1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City, Nigeria
2 Department of Physiology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Olorunsola I Adeyomoye,
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijn.ijn_88_21

Urea is an organic compound that has been reported to be effective against many pathological conditions. However, many other studies have reported the toxic effects of urea. These controversies on the biological roles of urea remain unresolved. This review aims to evaluate the biological roles of urea in experimental animals from data published in peer-reviewed journals. A PubMed search was conducted using the phrase, “urea application in experimental animals.” A total of 13 publications that met the inclusion criteria were evaluated. The test substance, animal model, number of animals, doses, duration of treatment, and effects were recorded. Regarding the toxic effect, urea caused decreased excretion of other nitrogenous compounds, increased oxidative stress, decreased insulin, and impairment of beta-cell glycolysis. Furthermore, it caused endothelial dysfunction, loss of synapsis, and decreased olfaction. Regarding the therapeutic effects, urea caused increased growth, increased digestion, and decreased hepatic dysfunction. It also induced apoptosis of tumor cells and exerted neuroprotective properties. Products containing urea should be used with caution, especially in individuals with symptoms of chronic kidney disease. However, more studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms of its therapeutic effects.

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Indian Journal of Nephrology
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