Anatomically-specific intratubular and interstitial biominerals in the human renal medullo-papillary complex.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187103
Limited information exists on the anatomically-specific early stage events leading to clinically detectable mineral aggregates in the renal papilla. In this study, quantitative multiscale correlative maps of structural, elemental and biochemical properties of whole medullo-papillary complexes from human kidneys were developed. Correlative maps of properties specific to the uriniferous and vascular tubules using high-resolution X-ray computed tomography, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and immunolocalization of noncollagenous proteins (NCPs) along with their association with anatomy specific biominerals were obtained. Results illustrated that intratubular spherical aggregates primarily form at the proximal regions distant from the papillary tip while interstitial spherical and fibrillar aggregates are distally located near the papillary tip. Biominerals at the papillary tip were closely localized with 10 to 50 μm diameter vasa recta immunolocalized for CD31 inside the medullo-papillary complex. Abundant NCPs known to regulate bone mineralization were localized within nanoparticles, forming early pathologic mineralized regions of the complex. Based on the physical association between vascular and urothelial tubules, results from light and electron microscopy techniques suggested that these NCPs could be delivered from vasculature to prompt calcification of the interstitial regions or they might be synthesized from local vascular smooth muscle cells after transdifferentiation into osteoblast-like phenotypes. In addition, results provided insights into the plausible temporal events that link the anatomically specific intratubular mineral aggregates with the interstitial biomineralization processes within the functional unit of the kidney.