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Vol. 19, No. 2, 1999
Issue release date: March–April 1999
Section title: Origins of Renal Physiology (Dedicated to Carl Gottschalk)
Am J Nephrol 1999;19:290–294
(DOI:10.1159/000013463)

Vitalism and Synthesis of Urea

From Friedrich Wöhler to Hans A. Krebs

Kinne-Saffran E. · Kinne R.K.H.
Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Physiologie, Dortmund, Germany

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Origins of Renal Physiology (Dedicated to Carl Gottschalk)

Published online: 4/23/1999

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0250-8095 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9670 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/AJN

Abstract

In 1828, Friedrich Wöhler, a German physician and chemist by training, published a paper that describes the formation of urea, known since 1773 to be a major component of mammalian urine, by combining cyanic acid and ammonium in vitro. In these experiments the synthesis of an organic compound from two inorganic molecules was achieved for the first time. These results weakened significantly the vitalistic hypothesis on the functioning of living cells, although Wöhler, at that time, was more interested in the chemical consequences of isomerism than in the philosophical implications of his finding. However, the chemical synthesis observed by Wöhler does not represent the reaction which is employed in the mammalian liver for urea synthesis. The mechanism of this process was elucidated by the German physician Hans A. Krebs and his medical student Kurt Henseleit in 1932 and was shown to include the ornithine cycle. This ‘urea cycle’ is only observed in living cells; this apparently vitalistic phenomenon is caused by the compartmentalization of the various enzymatic reactions in mitochondria and cytosol, respectively.


  

Author Contacts

Dr. E. Kinne-Saffran
Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Physiologie
Rheinlanddamm 201
D–44139 Dortmund (Germany)
Tel. +49 231 12 06 482, Fax +49 231 12 06 494

  

Article Information

Number of Print Pages : 5
Number of Figures : 3, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 12

  

Publication Details

American Journal of Nephrology

Vol. 19, No. 2, Year 1999 (Cover Date: March-April 1999)

Journal Editor: Shaul G. Massry, Los Angeles, California
ISSN: 0250–8095 (print), 1421–9670 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/journals/ajn


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Origins of Renal Physiology (Dedicated to Carl Gottschalk)

Published online: 4/23/1999

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0250-8095 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9670 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/AJN


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