Renal histopathology of stone-forming patients with distal renal tubular acidosis

A. P. Evan, J. Lingeman, F. Coe, Y. Shao, N. Miller, B. Matlaga, C. Phillips, A. Sommer, E. Worcester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


To define the renal tissue changes in stone-forming patients with distal renal tubular acidosis (dRTA), we performed intra-operative papillary and cortical biopsies in five patients. The main abnormalities were plugging of inner medullary collecting ducts (IMCD) and Bellini ducts (BD) with deposits of calcium phosphate in the form of apatite; epithelial cell injury and loss was marked. Plugged ducts were surrounded by interstitial fibrosis, but the fibrosis was generalized, as well, and was a main feature of the histopathology even when plugging was not present. In contrast, common idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers (SF) never manifest intra-tubule crystals or interstitial fibrosis. Patients with brushite (calcium monohydrogen phosphate) stones and those with cystine stones have many fewer IMCD and BD plugged with apatite (or cystine, in cystinuria), and interstitial fibrosis is limited to the regions around plugged ducts. Patients with dRTA often present a radiographic picture of nephrocalcinosis. Our direct surgical observations reveal that these may be surgically removable stones, especially in patients with well preserved renal function. In all, dRTA SF have a more diffuse papillary renal disease than other SF thus studied, and are also unusual for the degree of interstitial fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-801
Number of pages7
JournalKidney international
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Kidney calculi
  • Radiographs
  • Renal biopsies
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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