The uroguanylin system is a newly discovered endocrine/paracrine system that may have a role in the regulation of salt balance, appetite and gut health. The precursor pro-uroguanylin is predominantly synthesized in the gut, although there may be other sites of synthesis, including the kidney tubules. Products from pro-uroguanylin may mediate natriuresis following oral consumption of a salt load through both GC-C (guanylate cyclase C)-dependent and -independent mechanisms, and recent evidence suggests a role in appetite regulation. Local paracrine effects in the gut through GC-C stimulation may have tumour-suppressing actions through the regulation of cell proliferation and metabolism. Although most information on this system has been derived from knockout models, recent human studies have indicated possible roles in heart failure and renal failure. An improved understanding of the nature of its natriuretic, appetite and tumour-suppressing actions may facilitate the discovery of new therapies for heart failure, obesity and cancer prophylaxis.

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