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Arch Esp Urol. 2017 Jan;70(1):12-27.

How do stones form? Is unification of theories on stone formation possible?

Author information

1
Department of Urology.College of Medicine. University of Florida. Gainesville. Florida. EE.UU.
2
Department of Urology.Department of Pathology. College of Medicine. University of Florida. Gainesville. Florida. EE.UU.

Abstract

There are two basic pathways for formation of calcium based kidney stones. Most idiopathic calcium oxalate (CaOx) stones are formed in association with sub-epithelial plaques of calcium phosphate (CaP), known as Randall's plaques, on renal papillary surfaces. Crystal formation and retention within the terminal collecting ducts, the ducts of Bellini, leading to the formation of Randall's plugs, is the other pathway. Both pathways require supersaturation leading to crystallization, regulated by various crystallization modulators produced in response to changing urinary conditions. High supersaturation, as a result of a variety of genetic and environmental factors, leads to crystallization in the terminal collecting ducts, eventually plugging their openings into the renal pelvis. Stasis behind the plugs may lead to the formation of attached or unattached stones in the tubular lumen. Deposition of crystals on the plug surface facing the pelvic or tubular urine may result in stone formation on the Randall's plugs. Kidneys of idiopathic stone formers may be subjected to oxidative stress as a result of increased urinary excretion of calcium/oxalate/phosphate and/or decrease in the production of functional crystallization inhibitors or in relation to co-morbidities such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, or acute kidney injury. We have proposed that production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) causes dedifferentiation of epithelial/endothelial cells into osteoblast type cells and deposition of CaP in the basement membrane of renal tubules or vessels. Growth, aggregation and melding of CaP crystals leads to the formation of plaque which grows by further calcification of interstitial collagen and membranous vesicles. Plaque becomes exposed to pelvic urine once the covering papillary epithelium is breached. Surface layers of CaP are replaced by CaOx through direct transformation or demineralization of CaP and mineralization of CaOx. Alternatively, or in addition, CaOx crystals nucleate directly on the plaque surface. Stone growth may also depend upon supersaturation in the pelvic urine, triggering further nucleation, growth and aggregation.

PMID:
28221139
PMCID:
PMC5683182
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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