The possibility that hypercalciuria could cause calcium stone formation through a mechanism other than by increasing urinary saturation of stone-forming calcium salts was explored. The effect of increasing calcium concentration on the inhibitor activity against the spontaneous precipitation of calcium oxalate was examined in whole urine (in the presence of naturally occurring inhibitors) and in synthetic media (with added inhibitors). In 11 patients with calcium nephrolithiasis, the induced hypercalciuria from calcium supplementation (600 mg/day) caused a significant fall in the urinary inhibitory activity against calcium oxalate precipitation, as shown by a decline in the formation product ratio from 12.6 ± 1.1 SEM to 9.6 ± 1.4 (P < 0.005). In order to more fully explore this observation, the effect of increasing calcium concentration on the inhibitory activities of citrate (2 mM), chondroitin sulfate (0.05 mg/liter) and a heterogeneous group of naturally-occurring urinary inhibitors (1.0 mg/liter) against calcium oxalate precipitation was examined in vitro in synthetic solutions. The inhibitory actions of both citrate and chondroitin sulfate were significantly attenuated by increasing calcium concentration from 0.25 mM to 6.0 mM (P < 0.01). However, raising the calcium concentration in synthetic media containing a mixture of partially purified urinary inhibitors produced a significant rise in the urinary inhibitory activity of this macromolecular mmixture (P < 0.01). We conclude that hypercalciuria can attenuate the inhibitory activities of citrate and chondroitin sulfate against calcium oxalate precipitation while at the same time accentuating the inhibitory activity of naturally-occurring urinary inhibitors. The final outcome of these opposing effects on stone formation will be dependent, in part, on which of these actions exerts a dominant role in each patient.
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