The idiopathic hypercalciuria reviewed. Metabolic abnormality or disease?

Nefrologia (Engl Ed). 2019 Nov-Dec;39(6):592-602. doi: 10.1016/j.nefro.2019.02.011. Epub 2019 May 31.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Idiopathic hypercalciuria (IH) is defined as that clinical situation in which an increase in urinary calcium excretion is observed, in the absence of hypercalcemia and other known causes of hypercalciuria. In recent years, its diagnosis in pediatric age has been more frequent because it has been known that it can debut with very different symptoms, in the absence of kidney stone formation. The discovery of genetic hypercalciuric stone-forming rats has allowed us to glimpse the pathophysiological mechanism of IH since they show many data in common with humans with IH as normal levels of blood calcium, intestinal calcium hyperabsorption, increased bone resorption and a defect in the renal tubular calcium reabsorption. In 1993, it was shown that in these animals there is an increase in the number of vitamin D receptors (VDR) in the intestine, which favors an increase in the functional capacity of calcitriol-VDR complexes that explains the increase in intestinal transport of calcium. The same happens at the bone level producing a greater resorption. In our opinion, IH is a 'metabolic anomaly' or, better, an inheritable constitutive metabolic characteristic. In this sense, what patients with IH would inherit is the availability of having a greater number of VDRs in their cells than those with normal urinary calcium excretion. IH cannot be considered a sensu stricto disease, so pharmacological treatment must be individualized.

Keywords: Bone mineral density; Densidad mineral ósea; Hipercalciuria idiopática; Idiopathic hypercalciuria; Infección de vías urinarias; Litiasis urinaria; Receptor de la vitamina D; Urinary lithiasis; Urinary tract infection; Vitamin D receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hypercalciuria / etiology*
  • Hypercalciuria / genetics
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications*
  • Rats