Scanning Microscopy


Urinary citrate appears to be an important factor in the crystallization process of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. The urinary excretion of citrate was found to be significantly lower in patients with calcium oxalate stone disease as compared with normal subjects, and about 30 per cent of the calcium stone formers can be considered as hypocitraturic. The lowest excretion of citrate was recorded in urine collected during the night. Citrate has significant effects on supersaturation with respect to both calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate, it also inhibits the growth of these crystals. In addition, citrate appears to be capable of inhibiting the aggregation of crystals composed of calcium oxalate, brushite, and hydroxyapatite. The heterogenous growth of calcium oxalate on calcium phosphate is also counteracted by citrate. As a consequence of the crucial role of citrate in these processes, stone prevention with alkaline citrate has become an attractive form of treatment in patients with recurrent stone formation. Single evening dose administration of sodium potassium citrate resulted in an increased excretion of citrate, reduced levels of the calcium/citrate ratio as well as supersaturation with respect to calcium oxalate and a decreased rate of stone formation. However, conflicting results of stone preventive treatment with alkaline citrate have been reported by different groups, and long-term follow-up of patients treated in a randomized way is necessary to definitely assess the efficacy of alkaline citrate.

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