Scanning Microscopy


The discovery of an organic component in kidney stones dates back to 1684. More than 150 years elapsed before the incrustation of this organic component, which is now called the matrix, was proposed as the mechanism of stone formation. The composition of the matrix remained largely unknown until the development of electron microscopy and the advances in biochemistry combined in the 1950's to usher in the modern era of renal stone matrix investigation. Composed mainly of selectively incorporated proteins generally characterized by high glutamic and aspartic acid content and the frequent occurrence of y-carboxyglutamic acid, the matrix dis-plays a variable and complex composition and shares a few proteins in many stones. The embryonic stone may . first appear in the renal tubules where it can acquire the blood and cell membrane proteins recently found by analysis of stone protein extracts. The combination of supersaturation, an appropriate environment, the avail-ability of calcium binding proteins which may be abnormal, and the incorporation of proteins extracted from leukocytes and cell wall membranes may induce stone formation.

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