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Structural and chemical heterogeneities of primary hyperoxaluria kidney stones from pediatric patients.



Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type among stone-forming patients and in some cases result from predisposed genetic conditions. In this work, we examined the differences in structure and chemical composition between oxalate stones from patients from three groups: 1) pediatric patients that were genetically predisposed (primary hyperoxaluria) to form stones (PPH); 2) control pediatric patients that did not have such genetic predisposition (PN-PH); 3) adult patients that formed oxalate stones without the genetic predisposition (A-CaOx). A variety of instrumental analyses were conducted to identify physicochemical properties of stones characteristic of predisposed pediatric (PPH), pediatric hyperoxaluria (PN-PH), and adult (A-CaOx) patient populations.


Genetic variants of 16 stone-forming patients were determined using whole-exome gene sequencing. Components of stones from PPH (n = 6), PN-PH (n = 5), and A-CaOx (n = 5) groups were identified using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Stone morphology and density were evaluated using high resolution X-ray computed tomography (micro-XCT). Stone microstructure and elemental composition were mapped with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, respectively.


Calcium oxalate bipyramidal crystals were found on stones from all groups. Stones from PPH patients with PH types I and II were composed of calcium oxalate monohydrate (COM) with relatively uniform mineral density (1224 ± 277 mg/cc) and distinct smooth surfaces. By contrast, micro-spherical calcium phosphate particles were found only on PN-PH stones, which also showed a broader range of mineral densities (1266 ± 342 mg/cc). Stones from the PN-PH group also contained phosphorus (P), which was absent in NP-PH stones. A-CaOx stones were of significantly lower mineral density (645 ± 237 mg/cc) than pediatric stones and were more heterogeneous in their elemental composition.


Unique structural and compositional characteristics were identified in stones from pediatric patients with primary hyperoxaluria. These include the absence of phosphorus, a narrower mineral density distribution, and a uniform elemental composition compared to stones from pediatric patients without the genetic predisposition. Thus, characterization of stones at the macro- and micro-scales in combination with genetic testing of patients can provide insights and accurate diagnosis to develop a treatment plan for effective patient care.

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