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August 22, 1885


JAMA. 1885;V(8):215-216. doi:10.1001/jama.1885.02391070019005

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The toxicity of normal urine has been a disputed question for a long period of time. The weight of evidence is on the affirmative side, although the immediate poisonous principles are not known. Urea, uric acid, kreatin, and the potassium salts have in turn been incriminated. Recent investigations, however, point to the existence of poisonous alkaloids in normal urine. M. Chautemesse has summarised the history of the subject, which is well abstracted in two leading articles, appearing in the British Medical Journal, June 6th and July 4th, 1885.

Alkaloids have been found in putrid albumens, bile and normal muscle-juice by Gautier and Pouchet. Brouardel and Boutmy, published in 1881, a distinguishing reaction between the vegetable alkaloids and the ptomaines. The alkaloids of putrefaction, in the presence of potassium ferricyanide and ferric chloride yield the Prussian blue coloration. In 1880, Pouchet found an alkaloidal substance in normal urine, which, in combination

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