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Role of Calcium in the Aggregation of Particles Coated by Urinary Macromolecules

Baumann J.M.a · Affolter B.a · Caprez U.a · Clivaz C.a · von Arx U.b
aStone Research Center Viollier, and bBern University of Applied Sciences, Division of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering, Research and Development, Biel, Switzerland Urol Int 2009;82:459–463 (DOI:10.1159/000218538)


Objectives: In urine, aggregation (AGN) of crystal occurs although they are coated by negatively charged urinary macromolecules (UM) and isolated at a distance from each other, where attraction forces become extremely weak. Calcium (Ca) bridges or viscous binding by UM could explain this AGN. Methods: Suspensions of Ca oxalate monohydrate (COM) and carboxylated latex (CL) were prepared in buffered water and UM solutions which were obtained from the urine of 6 healthy men. Surface potential or zetapotential (ZP) of the particles was measured at various concentrations of Ca and UM. AGN of CL was monitored determining particle size and optical density. Results: The ZP of COM was neutralized by Ca and stabilized around –15 mV by UM. In CL, a stable ZP of about –20 mV was achieved at >3 mM Ca. However, to induce AGN further addition of Ca was necessary. AGN then increased independently of ZP with increasing Ca and decreased with increasing UM concentration. Conclusions: In CL, two different Ca effects could be distinguished, one on ZP and another on AGN. The latter is probably based on the formation of Ca bridges between particles and is inhibited by a steric barrier of adsorbed UM. A similar mechanism is postulated for crystal aggregation.


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