Evidence for increased postprandial distal nephron calcium delivery in hypercalciuric stone-forming patients

Elaine M. Worcester, Fredric L. Coe, Andrew P. Evan, Kristin J. Bergsland, Joan H. Parks, Lynn R. Willis, Daniel L. Clark, Daniel L. Gillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


A main mechanism of idiopathic hypercalciuria (IH) in calcium stoneforming patients (IHSF) is postprandial reduction of renal tubule calcium reabsorption that cannot be explained by selective reduction of serum parathyroid hormone levels; the nephron site(s) responsible are not as yet defined. Using fourteen 1-h measurements of the clearances of sodium, calcium, and endogenous lithium during a three-meal day in the University of Chicago General Clinical Research Center, we found reduced postprandial proximal tubule reabsorption of sodium and calcium in IHSF vs. normal subjects. The increased distal sodium delivery is matched by increased distal reabsorption so that urine sodium excretions do not differ, but distal calcium reabsorption does not increase enough to match increased calcium delivery, so hypercalciuria results. In fact, urine calcium excretion and overall renal fractional calcium reabsorption both are high in IHSF vs. normal when adjusted for distal calcium delivery, strongly suggesting a distal as well as proximal reduction of calcium reabsorption. The combination of reduced proximal tubule and distal nephron calcium reabsorption in IHSF is a new finding and indicates that IH involves a complex, presumably genetic, variation of nephron function. The increased calcium delivery into the later nephron may play a role in stone formation via deposition of papillary interstitial apatite plaque.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F1286-F1294
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008


  • Hypercalciuria
  • Lithium clearance
  • Nephrolithiasis
  • Proximal tubule
  • Tubule reabsorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology

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