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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2005;43(6):590-600.

Is idiopathic recurrent calcium urolithiasis in males a cellular disease? Laboratory findings in plasma, urine and erythrocytes, emphasizing the absence and presence of stones, oxidative and mineral metabolism: an observational study.

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Mineral Metabolism and Endocrine Research Laboratory, Department of Surgery, University of Erlangen-N├╝rnberg, Germany.



The site of origin of idiopathic recurrent calcium urolithiasis (IRCU)--a disorder characterized by stones composed of calcium oxalate (CaOx) and/or calcium phosphate (CaPi)--is uncertain, because in urine such risk factors for stones as disturbed Ox, Ca and Pi are not regularly observed.


To evaluate whether imbalance of antioxidants and oxidants might be present in IRCU patients that is then followed by abnormal urine, plasma and intracellular mineral homeostasis, and stones.


Males were investigated in the laboratory under standardized conditions, and three trials were organized. Trial 1 was cross-sectional, comparing IRCU patients with (n = 111) and without stones in situ (n = 126), focussing on abnormalities of oxypurines and minerals in urine and plasma, and metabolic activity (MA) of the disease. Trial 2 was partly controlled (n = 14 healthy subjects; n = 53 IRCU patients), comparing the plasma levels of total antioxidant status (TAS) and uric acid, the major antioxidant in humans, using the subsets Low (n = 26) and High (n = 27) TAS among IRCU patients in terms of plasma levels of uric acid, ascorbic acid, albumin, alpha-tocopherol and minerals, urinary minerals, CaOx and CaPi (hydroxyapatite) supersaturation. Trial 3, comprising stone-free IRCU patients (n = 8) and healthy controls (n = 8), compared minerals and mineral ratios in plasma and red blood cells (RBCs). Established analytical methodologies were used throughout.


In trial 1, uricemia, hypoxanthinuria and proteinuria were elevated, fractional urinary clearance (FE) of uric acid was decreased in stone-bearing patients, and MA correlated positively with uricemia and urinary total protein excretion. In trial 2, TAS was significantly decreased in IRCU patients vs. healthy controls; low TAS coincided with low plasma uric acid and albumin, unchanged ascorbic acid, alpha-tocopherol and parathyroid hormone, but increased FE-uric acid and Pi excretion; the latter correlated negatively with TAS. In trial 3, plasma minerals were significantly decreased in IRCU patients vs. controls, and Ca/Pi, (Ca/Pi)/Mg and (Ca/Pi)/Na molar ratios increased; the latter ratio was also increased in RBCs, and correlated highly positively with the same ratio in plasma.


In IRCU 1) renal stones in situ in combination with high fasting uricemia, high hypoxanthinuria and protein-uria, and high MA suggest that a systemic metabolic anomaly underlies stone formation; 2) antioxidant deficit is frequent, unrelated to the presence or absence of stones but apparently related to poor renal uric acid recycling, low uricemia and albuminemia, exaggerated urinary Pi excretion, and low MA; 3) the combination of low plasma TAS, disordered Ca/Pi and other mineral ratios in urine, plasma and RBCs, but unchanged urinary Ca salt supersaturation is compatible with the view that CaPi solid and Ca microlith formation start inside oxidatively damaged cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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