Letter | Published:

Isolation and structure of urogastrone and its relationship to epidermal growth factor

Naturevolume 257pages325327 (1975) | Download Citation



THE clinical observation of the very low incidence of peptic ulceration during pregnancy led to the finding that extracts of the urine of pregnant women had a beneficial effect on experimental ulcers in dogs1. It was later reported that not only pregnancy urine but also that from all females and males contained a potent inhibitor of gastric acid secretion2,3. Sandweiss4 named the anti-ulcer factor anthelone and regarded it as having a therapeutic effect on ulcers without depressing gastric acid secretion. The antisecretory agent was thought to be a separate entity and was called urogastrone because its actions resembled those of the postulated duodenal hormone enterogastrone5. Subsequent work amply demonstrated urogastrone action, but the existence of anthelone as a separate entity remained less well established. To establish the true nature of these agents, however, and in particular their possible role in the therapeutic control of peptic ulceration it was necessary to make a full chemical identification. Many attempts have been made to isolate urogastrone, and probably the most highly purified sample on record was that obtained by Gregory6. This was described as a combination of a golden yellow fluorescent pigment and a protein of relatively low molecular weight. Others have provided additional evidence of a protein structure7 but some recent work has led to the suggestion that urogastrone is a high-molecular weight glycoprotein8,9. Nevertheless its exact nature, source10 and physiological role have remained unknown. Gastric inhibitory effects have also been shown by extracts of animal urine but studies were undertaken on the nature of urogastrone from more readily available human urine.

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  1. Pharmaceuticals Division, ICI Ltd, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK

    • H. GREGORY


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