Osmolyte

Osmolytes are compounds affecting osmosis.[1] They are soluble in the solution within a cell, or in the surrounding fluid, e.g. as plasma osmolytes. They play a role in maintaining cell volume and fluid balance. For example, when a cell swells due to external osmotic pressure, membrane channels open and allow efflux of osmolytes which carry water with them, restoring normal cell volume.[2]

Natural osmolytes that can act as osmoprotectants include trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), dimethylsulfoniopropionate, trimethylglycine, sarcosine, betaine, glycerophosphorylcholine, myo-inositol, taurine and others.[3] In humans, osmolytes are of particular importance in the renal medulla.[4]

References

Further reading

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