Renal epithelial cells constitutively produce a protein that blocks adhesion of crystals to their surface

Vivek Kumar, Shihui Yu, Gerard Farell, F. Gary Toback, John C. Lieske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Attachment of newly formed crystals to renal tubular epithelial cells appears to be a critical step in the development of kidney stones. The present study was undertaken to identity autocrine factors released from renal epithelial cells into the culture medium that inhibit adhesior of calcium oxalate crystals to the cell surface. A 39-kDa glycoprotein that is constitutively secreted by renal cells was purified by gel filtration chromatography. Amino acid microsequencing revealed that it is novel and not structurally related to known inhibitors of calcium oxa ate crystallization. Hence, it was named crystal adhesion inhibitor, or CAI. Immunoreactive CAI was detected in diverse rat tissues, including kidney, heart, pancreas, liver, and testis. Immunohistochemistry revealed that CAI is present in the renal cell cytosol and is also on the plasma membrane. Importantly, CAI is present in normal human urine, from which it can be purified using calcium oxalate monohydrate crystal affinity chromatography. CAI could be an important defense against crystal attachment to tubular cells and the subsequent development of renal stones in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F373-F383
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number3 56-3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Calcium oxalate monohydrate
  • Cell-crystal interaction
  • DING protein
  • Inhibitor
  • Nephrolithiasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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