Background Endogenous oxalate synthesis contributes to calcium oxalate stone disease and is markedly increased in the inherited primary hyperoxaluria (PH) disorders. The incomplete knowledge regarding oxalate synthesis complicates discovery of new treatments. Hydroxyproline (Hyp) metabolism results in the formation of oxalate and glycolate. However, the relative contribution of Hyp metabolism to endogenous oxalate and glycolate synthesis is not known. Methods To define this contribution, we performed primed, continuous, intravenous infusions of the stable isotope [15N,13C5]-Hyp in nine healthy subjects and 19 individuals with PH and quantified the levels of urinary 13C2-oxalate and 13C2-glycolate formed using ion chromatography coupled to mass detection. Results The total urinary oxalate-to-creatinine ratio during the infusion was 73.1, 70.8, 47.0, and 10.6 mg oxalate/g creatinine in subjects with PH1, PH2, and PH3 and controls, respectively. Hyp metabolism accounted for 12.8, 32.9, and 14.8 mg oxalate/g creatinine in subjects with PH1, PH2, and PH3, respectively, compared with 1.6 mg oxalate/g creatinine in controls. The contribution of Hyp to urinary oxalate was 15% in controls and 18%, 47%, and 33% in subjects with PH1, PH2, and PH3, respectively. The contribution of Hyp to urinary glycolate was 57% in controls, 30% in subjects with PH1, and,13% in subjects with PH2 or PH3. Conclusions Hyp metabolism differs among PH types and is a major source of oxalate synthesis in individuals with PH2 and PH3. In patients with PH1, who have the highest urinary excretion of oxalate, the major sources of oxalate remain to be identified.
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