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      Role of Dietary Intake and Intestinal Absorption of Oxalate in Calcium Stone Formation


      Nephron Physiology

      S. Karger AG

      Intestinal absorption, Oxalate, Calcium, Magnesium, Fibre, pH, Urolithiasis

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          The factors affecting the urinary excretion of oxalate are critical to the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones. This article reviews the role of dietary and intestinal oxalate in determining the level of oxalate excreted in urine. The amount of oxalate available for absorption throughout the intestine is highly dependent on the state of oxalate (a) in the food ingested, and (b) in the intestinal contents at each section of the intestinal tract since only the soluble form of oxalate can be absorbed. In this respect, the solubility of calcium oxalate (CaOx) under the prevailing conditions is paramount in determining the amount of oxalate available for absorption at any particular site. In turn, the main factors that control how much oxalate is in the soluble form are pH and the concentrations of calcium, magnesium and (indirectly) phosphate. Based on these parameters, a model of the intestine has been constructed which brings together the available evidence on the prevailing concentrations of these various factors at different sites in the intestine after allowing for dietary intake and the concentration of the above ions in intestinal secretions. The model then calculates the likely concentration of oxalate that is in the soluble form at each site and therefore available for passive absorption at that site. The model shows that oxalate is likely to be absorbed in the stomach, although it can be also absorbed in the small intestine, particularly at the distal end (after the absorption of calcium), and in the colon, since, on a normal intake of calcium and phosphate, most of the calcium in the large bowel would be anticipated to be precipitated as calcium phosphate under the prevailing alkaline conditions and high concentration of phosphate. The amount of free oxalate in the colon is also controlled by the presence or absence of Oxalobacter formigenes, an anaerobe that has an obligate requirement for oxalate as a source of energy and cellular carbon.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Reduction of oxaluria after an oral course of lactic acid bacteria at high concentration.

          Hyperoxaluria is a major risk factor for renal stones, and in most cases, it appears to be sustained by increased dietary load or increased intestinal absorption. Previous studies have shown that components of the endogenous digestive microflora, in particular Oxalobacter formigenes, utilize oxalate in the gut, thus limiting its absorption. We tested the hypothesis of whether oxaluria can be reduced by means of reducing intestinal absorption through feeding a mixture of freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria. Six patients with idiopathic calcium-oxalate urolithiasis and mild hyperoxaluria (>40 mg/24 h) received daily a mixture containing 8 x 10(11) freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria (L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. brevis, S. thermophilus, B. infantis) for four weeks. The 24-hour urinary excretion of oxalate was determined at the end of the study period and then one month after ending the treatment. The ability of bacteria to degrade oxalate and grow in oxalate-containing media, and the gene expression of Ox1T, an enzyme that catalyzes the transmembrane exchange of oxalate, also were investigated. The treatment resulted in a great reduction of the 24-hour excretion of oxalate in all six patients enrolled. Mean levels +/- SD were 33.5 +/- 15.9 mg/24 h at the end of the study period and 28.3 +/- 14.6 mg/24 h one month after treatment was interrupted compared with baseline values of 55.5 +/- 19.6 mg/24 h (P < 0.05). The treatment was associated with a strong reduction of the fecal excretion of oxalate in the two patients tested. Two bacterial strains among those used for the treatment (L. acidophilus and S. thermophilus) proved in vitro to degrade oxalate effectively, but their growth was somewhat inhibited by oxalate. One strain (B. infantis) showed a quite good degrading activity and grew rapidly in the oxalate-containing medium. L. plantarum and L. brevis showed a modest ability to degrade oxalate even though they grew significantly in oxalate-containing medium. No strain expressed the Ox1T gene. The urinary excretion of oxalate, a major risk factor for renal stone formation and growth in patients with idiopathic calcium-oxalate urolithiasis, can be greatly reduced with treatment using a high concentration of freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria. We postulate that the biological manipulation of the endogenous digestive microflora can be a novel approach for the prevention of urinary stone formation.
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            The role of overweight and obesity in calcium oxalate stone formation.

            The aim of the study was to assess the influence of overweight and obesity on the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation. BMI, 24-hour urine, and serum parameters were evaluated in idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers (363 men and 164 women) without medical or dietetic pretreatment. Overweight and obesity were present in 59.2% of the men and in 43.9% of the women in the study population. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed a significant positive relationship between BMI and urinary uric acid, sodium, ammonium, and phosphate excretion and an inverse correlation between BMI and urinary pH in both men and women, whereas BMI was associated with urinary oxalate excretion only among women and with urinary calcium excretion only among men. Serum uric acid and creatinine concentrations were correlated with BMI in both genders. Because no association was established between BMI and urinary volume, magnesium, and citrate excretion, inhibitors of calcium oxalate stone formation, the risk of stone formation increased significantly with increasing BMI among both men and women with urolithiasis (p = 0.015). The risk of calcium oxalate stone formation, median number of stone episodes, and frequency of diet-related diseases were highest in overweight and obese men. Overweight and obesity are strongly associated with an elevated risk of stone formation in both genders due to an increased urinary excretion of promoters but not inhibitors of calcium oxalate stone formation. Overweight and obese men are more prone to stone formation than overweight women.
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              Oxalobacter formigenes and its role in oxalate metabolism in the human gut.

              Oxalate is ingested in a wide range of animal feeds and human foods and beverages and is formed endogenously as a waste product of metabolism. Bacterial, rather than host, enzymes are required for the intestinal degradation of oxalate in man and mammals. The bacterium primarily responsible is the strict anaerobe Oxalobacter formigenes. In humans, this organism is found in the colon. O. formigenes has an obligate requirement for oxalate as a source of energy and cell carbon. In O. formigenes, the proton motive force for energy conservation is generated by the electrogenic antiport of oxalate(2-) and formate(1-) by the oxalate-formate exchanger, OxlT. The coupling of oxalate-formate exchange to the reductive decarboxylation of oxalyl CoA forms an 'indirect' proton pump. Oxalate is voided in the urine and the loss of O. formigenes may be accompanied by elevated concentrations of urinary oxalate, increasing the risk of recurrent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation. Links between the occurrence of nephrolithiasis and the presence of Oxalobacter have led to the suggestion that antibiotic therapy may contribute to the loss of this organism from the colonic microbiota. Studies in animals and human volunteers have indicated that, when administered therapeutically, O. formigenes can establish in the gut and reduce the urinary oxalate concentration following an oxalate load, hence reducing the likely incidence of calcium oxalate kidney stone formation. The findings to date suggest that anaerobic, colonic bacteria such as O. formigenes, that are able to degrade toxic compounds in the gut, may, in future, find application for therapeutic use, with substantial benefit for human health and well-being.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Physiol
                Nephron Physiology
                S. Karger AG
                October 2004
                19 October 2004
                : 98
                : 2
                : p64-p71
                Department of Nephrology, University Hospital, Nice, France
                80266 Nephron Physiol 2004;98:p64–p71
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 2, References: 66, Pages: 1
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                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                Oxalate, Calcium, Magnesium, Urolithiasis, Fibre, Intestinal absorption, pH


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