Estimation of urinary nanocrystals in humans using calcium fluorophore labeling and nanoparticle tracking analysis

Academic Article


  • Kidney stones are becoming more prevalent worldwide in adults and children. The most common type of kidney stone is comprised of calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals. Crystalluria occurs when urine becomes supersaturated with minerals (e.g., calcium, oxalate, phosphate) and precedes kidney stone formation. Standard methods to assess crystalluria in stone formers include microscopy, filtration, and centrifugation. However, these methods primarily detect microcrystals and not nanocrystals. Nanocrystals have been suggested to be more harmful to kidney epithelial cells than microcrystals in vitro. Here, we describe the ability of Nanoparticle Tracking analysis (NTA) to detect human urinary nanocrystals. Healthy adults were fed a controlled oxalate diet prior to drinking an oxalate load to stimulate urinary nanocrystals. Urine was collected for 24 hours before and after the oxalate load. Samples were processed and washed with ethanol to purify samples. Urinary nanocrystals were stained with the calcium binding fluorophore, Fluo-4 AM. After staining, the size and count of nanocrystals were determined using NTA. The findings from this study show NTA can efficiently detect nanocrystalluria in healthy adults. These findings suggest NTA could be a valuable early detection method of nanocrystalluria in patients with kidney stone disease.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kumar P; Bell A; Mitchell T
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 14
  • Volume

  • 2021
  • Issue

  • 168