Renal intratubular crystals and hyaluronan staining occur in stone formers with bypass surgery but not with idiopathic calcium oxalate stones

Andrew P. Evan, Fredric L. Coe, Daniel Gillen, James E. Lingeman, Sharon Bledsoe, Elaine M. Worcester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Whether idiopathic calcium oxalate (CaOx) stone formers form inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) crystal deposits bears on pathogenetic mechanisms of stone formation. In prior work, using light and transmission electron microscopy, we have found no IMCD crystal deposits. Here, we searched serial sections of papillary biopsies from a prior study of 15 idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers, 4 intestinal bypass patients with CaOx stones, and 4 non-stone-forming subjects, and biopsies from an additional hitherto unreported 15 idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers and 1 bypass patient using polarized light oil immersion optics, for deposits overlooked in our original study. We found no IMCD deposits in any of 1,500 serial sections from the 30 idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers, nor in 87 additional sections from a frozen idiopathic calcium oxalate stone former biopsy sample processed without exposure to aqueous solutions. Among 4 of the 5 bypass patients but in none of the 30 idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers or 4 normal stone formers, we found tiny birefringent thin crystalline overlays on scattered IMCD cell membranes. We also found IMCD lumen deposits in two bypass patients that contained mixed birefringent and nonbirefringent crystals, presumably CaOx and apatite. In the bypass patients, we observed focal apical IMCD cell hyaluronan staining, which was absent in idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers. The absence of any IMCD deposits in 1,500 serial sections of biopsies from 30 idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers allows us to place the upper limit on the probability of their occurrence at approximately 0.002 and place the lower limit of their size at the resolution of the optics (<0.2 μ). The tiny deposits in bypass patients may be the initial crystal lesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008



  • Birefringent crystals
  • Randall's plaque
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biotechnology

Cite this