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Biomarker: Urea

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Urea

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Status:

Experienced Running

Biological or Clinical Significance:

Urea or carbamide is an organic compound with the chemical formula CO(NH2)2. Urea serves an important role in the metabolism of nitrogen-containing compounds by animals, and is the main nitrogen-containing substance in the urine of mammals. It is a colorless, odorless solid, highly soluble in water, and practically non-toxic (LD50 is 15 g/kg for rats). Dissolved in water, it is neither acidic nor alkaline. The body uses it in many processes, most notably nitrogen excretion.

Urea in concentrations up to 10 M is a powerful protein denaturant as it disrupts the noncovalent bonds in the proteins. This property can be exploited to increase the solubility of some proteins. A mixture of urea and choline chloride is used as a deep eutectic solvent, a type of ionic liquid. Urea-containing creams are used as topical dermatological products to promote rehydration of the skin. By virtue of its tendency to form a porous framework, urea has the ability to trap many organic compounds.

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