Intraoperative papillary biopsies from kidneys of idiopathic-calcium oxalate stone formers (ICSF) have revealed a distinct pattern of mineral deposition in the interstitium of the renal papilla. The earliest sites of these deposits, termed Randall's plaque, are found in the basement membrane of thin loops of Henle and appear to spread into the surrounding interstitium down to the papillary epithelium. Recent studies show kidney stones of ICSF patients grow attached to the renal papilla and at sites of Randall's plaque. Together these observations suggest that plaque formation may be the critical step in stone formation. In order to control plaque formation and thereby reduce future kidney stone development, the mechanism of plaque deposition must be understood. Because the renal papilla has unique anatomical features similar to bone and the fact that the interstitial deposits of ICSF patients are formed of biological apatite, this paper tests the hypothesis that sites of interstitial plaque form as a result of cell-mediated osteoblast-like activity.