Immunocytochemical localization of Tamm-Horsfall protein in the kidneys of normal and nephrolithic rats

J. A. Gokhale, M. D. McKee, S. R. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Studies using in vitro systems have indicated that Tamm-Horsfall protein (THP) can interact with calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals during kidney stone formation. However, information regarding the nature of its participation in this process remains controversial and unclear. In order to better understand the putative interaction of THP and crystals in vivo, we compared the localization of THP in normal rats and in chronic and semi-acute rat models of nephrolithiasis. In these rats, CaOx crystal deposits were induced in the kidneys by administering ethylene glycol (EG) in drinking water. The formation of CaOx mono- and dihydrate aggregates in the urine was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy. Immunohistochemical localization, as well as protein A-gold labeling at the ultrastructural level, demonstrated that in addition to its normal distribution, THP specifically associated with the renal crystal deposits. The THP-containing, organic matrix-like material consisted of a fine, fibrillar meshwork surrounding individual crystals and their aggregates. In addition, THP also appeared in the papilla, where it is normally absent, concurrent with the appearance of crystal deposits in the kidneys. These observations indicate that in nephrolithic rats the normal localization of THP is altered. Such an alteration may indicate an important physiological event related to crystal aggregation and kidney stone formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalUrological Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium oxalate
  • Hyperoxaluria
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Nephrolithiasis
  • Tamm-Horsfall protein
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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