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Int J Urol. 2003 Jun;10(6):293-6.

Association of absence of intestinal oxalate degrading bacteria with urinary calcium oxalate stone formation.

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Department of Urology, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.



Urinary concentration of oxalate is considered an important factor in the formation of renal stones. Dietary oxalate is a major contributor to urinary oxalate excretion in most individuals. Furthermore, oxalate degrading bacteria have been isolated from human feces. We investigated the significance of oxalate degrading bacteria for urinary oxalate excretion and urinary stone formation.


Twenty-two known calcium oxalate stone-forming patients (stone formers) and 34 healthy volunteers (non-stone formers) were included in the study. Stool specimens were inoculated into pepton yeast glucose (PYG) medium supplemented with oxalate under anaerobic condition at 37 C for one week. After the incubation period, each colony was checked for the loss of oxalate from the culture medium. A 24-h urine sample was collected in 43 individuals and analyzed for oxalate excretion.


Twenty-eight of 34 (82%) healthy volunteers and 10 of 22 (45%) calcium oxalate stone formers were colonized with oxalate degrading bacteria. Calcium oxalate stone formers were more frequently free of oxalate degrading bacteria (P < 0.01). Urinary excretion of oxalate in those with oxalate degrading bacteria was significantly less than in those without oxalate degrading bacteria (P < 0.05). Hyperoxaluria (> 40 mg/day) was found in four of 27 individuals (15%) with oxalate degrading bacteria compared to seven of 16 (44%) without oxalate degrading bacteria (P < 0.05), suggesting an association between the absence of oxalate degrading bacteria and the presence of hyperoxaluria.


The absence of oxalate degrading bacteria in the gut could promote the absorption of oxalate, thereby increasing the level of urinary oxalate excretion. The absence of oxalate degrading bacteria from the gut appears to be a risk factor for the presence of absorptive hyperoxaluria and an increased likelihood of urolithiasis.

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