Among the metabolites which are retained in the body during renal insufficiency, the phenols have received relatively little attention. The fact that these compounds have practical significance because of their correlation with the depressive symptoms of uremia is confirmed by these studies at the Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn. It is recognized, of course, that the phenols are only one of the various factors contributing to the symptoms noted in uremia.
The phenols are compounds characterized by the presence of a free hydroxyl group and are divided into free and conjugated forms. The free phenols include both volatile and nonvolatile acids. Orthocresol and paracresol are examples of the free volatile phenols and parahydroxybenzoic acid of the free nonvolatile group. A conjugated phenol consists of a free phenol in combination with sulfuric or glycuronic acid.
Attention was first drawn to the significance of the phenol bodies by Becher,1 who noted that
DICKES R. RELATION BETWEEN THE SYMPTOMS OF UREMIA AND THE BLOOD LEVELS OF THE PHENOLS. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1942;69(3):446–455. doi:10.1001/archinte.1942.00200150079007
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