Contribution of vitamin A deficiency to calculogenic risk factors of urine: studies in children

Biochem Med Metab Biol. 1992 Feb;47(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/0885-4505(92)90002-g.


Studies in experimental animals showed that vitamin A deficiency enhanced the severity of urinary calculi disease. In India, children with low socioeconomic status are the major victims of bladder stone disease, and vitamin A deficiency is also more prevalent among these children. However, no systematic study is available to correlate the vitamin A-deficient status of children with their predisposition to urinary calculi disease. Vitamin A-deficient and normal boys were the subjects of this study. Twenty-four-hour samples of urine were collected from all the children at the beginning of the study and after normalizing the vitamin A status of the deficient children. Important risk factors were estimated in urine. Plasma vitamin A levels were also measured in these children. Among the deficient group, only children with plasma vitamin A levels of 15 micrograms and lower exhibited calcium oxalate crystalluria. Most importantly, abnormal crystalluria was observed in all children whose plasma vitamin A levels were 13 micrograms/dl or less. Compared to normal children the urine of vitamin A-deficient children showed the following changes: (a) reduced concentration of crystal growth inhibitors, namely citrate and glycosaminoglycans; (b) a decline in inhibitory activity toward calcium oxalate crystal growth; and (c) enhanced excretion of high risk factors, namely calcium and oxalate. Correction of vitamin A status normalized the above abnormal properties of urine. The results of this study strongly support the hypothesis that the vitamin A-deficient state is one of the factors that can enhance the risk of urolithiasis in susceptible populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Oxalate / urine
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crystallization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class
  • Urinary Calculi / etiology*
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / urine
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / complications*


  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator