1Department of Medicine, The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York 10021
Published October 1, 1968 - More info
The fate of bacteria in human urine was studied after inoculation of small numbers of Escherichia coli and other bacterial strains commonly implicated in urinary tract infection. Urine from normal individuals was often inhibitory and sometimes bactericidal for growth of these organisms. Antibacterial activity of urine was not related to lack of nutrient material as addition of broth did not decrease inhibitory activity. Antibacterial activity was correlated with osmolality, urea concentration and ammonium concentration, but not with organic acid, sodium, or potassium concentration. Between a pH range of 5.0-6.5 antibacterial activity of urine was greater at lower pH. Ultrafiltration and column chromatography to remove protein did not decrease antibacterial activity.
Urea concentration was a more important determinant of antibacterial activity than osmolality or ammonium concentration. Increasing the urea of a noninhibitory urine to equal that of an inhibitory urine made the urine inhibitory. However, increasing osmolality (with sodium chloride) or increasing ammonium to equal the osmolality or ammonium of an inhibitory urine did not increase antibacterial activity. Similarly, dialysis to decrease osmolality or ammonium but preserve urea did not decrease inhibitory activity. Decreasing urea with preservation of ammonium and osmolality decreased antibacterial activity. Removal of ammonium with an ion exchanger did not decrease antibacterial activity, whereas conversion of urea to ammonium with urease and subsequent removal of the ammonium decreased antibacterial activity.
Urine collected from volunteers after ingestion of urea demonstrated a marked increase in antibacterial activity, as compared with urine collected before ingestion of urea.