Pathophysiology-based treatment of urolithiasis

Urolithiasis, a complex multifactorial disease, results from interactions between environmental and genetic factors. Epidemiological studies have shown the association of urolithiasis with a number of lifestyle-related diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying urinary stone formation will enable development of new preventive treatments. The present article reviews the epidemiology, pathophysiology and potential treatment of urolithiasis. Recent literature has shown that oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species could be one such mechanistic pathway. Calcium oxalate crystals adhering to renal tubular cells are incorporated into the cells through the involvement of osteopontin. Stimulation of crystal-cell adhesion impairs acceleration of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore in tubular cells, resulting in mitochondrial collapse, oxidative stress and activation of the apoptotic pathway in the initial steps of renal calcium crystallization. With regard to genetic factors, studies show that single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes encoding calcium-sensing receptor, vitamin D receptor and osteopontin are correlated with urolithiasis. Genome-wide association studies have shown that CLDN14 and NPT2 are associated with urolithiasis in Caucasian and Japanese populations, respectively. Thus, single nucleotide polymorphism analysis would aid in the prediction of urolithiasis risk and recurrence. New diagnostic methods and preventive approaches, along with complete removal of stones, will improve the management of urolithiasis.

International journal of urology : official journal of the Japanese Urological Association. 2016 Aug 18 [Epub ahead of print]

Takahiro Yasui, Atsushi Okada, Shuzo Hamamoto, Ryosuke Ando, Kazumi Taguchi, Keiichi Tozawa, Kenjiro Kohri

Department of Nephro-urology, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Nagoya, Japan.