Scanning Microscopy


In this study, urine from a calcium oxalate kidney stone former was ultrafiltered (10 kD cut-off). Crystallization was induced in the ultrafiltrate and retentate fractions as well as in a sample of the whole urine. The progress of crystallization was monitored by Coulter Counter and flow cytometry techniques. (The latter has not been used in studies of the role of urinary macro-molecules in urolithiasis). Deposited crystals were examined by scanning electron microscopy. Results indicated that urinary macromolecules in this subject are inhibitors of nucleation and aggregation. These results agree with the findings of some workers but disagree with those of others. Indeed, studies on the role played by urinary macromolecules in promoting or inhibiting urolithiasis have failed to produce consistent findings. Examination of the literature reveals that a wide variety of experimental techniques and crystallization systems have been used in these studies and that this might be the cause of the inconsistencies. Based on reported experiences and those of the present study, a standard reference crystallization system is proposed. The key elements of this system involve the use of real urine, ultrafiltration, continuous crystallizer equipment, Coulter Counter procedures and scanning electron microscopy.

Included in

Biology Commons