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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Renal medullary organic osmolytes.

Sorbitol, inositol, GPC, and betaine are the predominant organic osmolytes in renal medullary cells. They protect the cells from harmful effects of the high interstitial NaCl and urea concentrations that occur normally in the renal medulla with operation of the urinary concentrating mechanism. Their levels correlate with extracellular NaCl concentration and, in the case of GPC, also with urea. Sorbitol is synthesized from glucose in a reaction catalyzed by aldose reductase. Inositol and betaine are transported into the cell. Glycerophosphorylcholine synthesis is dependent on choline. The transcription of aldose reductase and the transport of betaine and inositol are regulated, dependent on the degree of hypertonicity. Normal organic osmolyte regulation contributes to the survival and growth of medullary cells in their hyperosmolal environment, and defective regulation can damage them.[1]


  1. Renal medullary organic osmolytes. Garcia-Perez, A., Burg, M.B. Physiol. Rev. (1991) [Pubmed]
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