Uric acid nephrolithiasis

Miner Electrolyte Metab. 1994;20(6):424-31.


Uric acid is the end-product of purine nucleotide metabolism in man. The renal handling of urate is a complicated process, resulting in a fractional clearance of 8.2-10.3%. The anhydrous form is thermodynamically the most stable uric acid crystal. Uric acid is a weak acid that ionizes with a Pka at pH 5.75. At the normal acidic region, uric acid solubility is strongly increased by urinary pH. The prevalence of uric acid stones varies between countries, reflecting climatic, dietary, and ethnical differences, ranging from 2.1% (in Texas) to 37.7% (in Iran). The risk for uric acid stone formation correlates with the degree of uric acid supersaturation in the urine, depending on uric acid concentration and urinary pH. Hyperuricosuria is the major risk factor, the most common cause being increased purine intake in the diet. Acquired and hereditary diseases accompanied by hyperuricosuria and stone disease include: gout, in strong correlation with the amount of uric acid excreted, myelo- and lymphoproliferative disorders, multiple myeloma, secondary polycythemia, pernicious anemia and hemolytic disorders, hemoglobinopathies and thalassemia, the complete or partial deficiency of HGPRT, superactivity of PRPP synthetase, and hereditary renal hypouricemia. A common denominator in patients with idiopathic and gouty stone formers is a low urinary pH. Uric acid nephrolithiasis is indicated in the presence of a radiolucent stone, a persistent undue urine acidity and uric acid crystals in fresh urine samples. A radiolucent stone in combination with normal or acidic pH should raise the possibility of urate stones.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allopurinol / therapeutic use
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Calculi / diagnosis
  • Kidney Calculi / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Calculi / therapy
  • Models, Biological
  • Purines
  • Uric Acid / metabolism*
  • Uric Acid / urine
  • Urinary Calculi / diagnosis
  • Urinary Calculi / physiopathology*
  • Urinary Calculi / therapy
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Purines
  • Uric Acid
  • Allopurinol