1. The effect of hyperuricosuria, simulated by increasing the concentration of dissolved urate, on the crystallization of calcium oxalate in human urine was examined.
2. Twenty urine samples were studied. Ten of these, designated type A, spontaneously precipitated calcium oxalate dihydrate crystals upon the addition of a solution of sodium urate solution which raised the median urate concentration from 3.1 to 7.0 mmol/l.
3. Adding dissolved urate to the remaining type B samples raised the median urate concentration from 2.2 to 6.2 mmol/l, but did not cause the precipitation of calcium oxalate. This was induced in these samples by the addition of a standard load of oxalate above an empirically determined metastable limit.
4. In the type B urine samples, the addition of urate decreased the median metastable limit from 125 to 66 μmol of oxalate, trebled the median volume of crystalline calcium oxalate deposited from 35 000 to 105 000 μm3/μl and significantly increased the overall size of the particles precipitated. Calcium oxalate monohydrate was exclusively precipitated, and the individual crystals deposited in the presence of urate were markedly smaller, more numerous, and more highly aggregated than those produced in its absence.
5. These results constitute the most convincing evidence yet obtained that hyperuricosuria may be a powerful promoter of calcium oxalate stone formation.