Nucleation kinetics of calcium oxalate monohydrate as a function of pH, magnesium, and osteopontin concentration quantified with droplet microfluidics

Fatma Ibis, Tsun Wang Yu, Frederico Marques Penha, Debadrita Ganguly, Manzoor Alhaji Nuhu, Antoine E.D.M. Van Der Heijden, Herman J.M. Kramer, Huseyin Burak Eral*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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A droplet-based microfluidic platform is presented to study the nucleation kinetics of calcium oxalate monohydrate (COM), the most common constituent of kidney stones, while carefully monitoring the pseudo-polymorphic transitions. The precipitation kinetics of COM is studied as a function of supersaturation and pH as well as in the presence of inhibitors of stone formation, magnesium ions (Mg2+), and osteopontin (OPN). We rationalize the trends observed in the measured nucleation rates leveraging a solution chemistry model validated using isothermal solubility measurements. In equimolar calcium and oxalate ion concentrations with different buffer solutions, dramatically slower kinetics is observed at pH 6.0 compared to pHs 3.6 and 8.6. The addition of both Mg2+ and OPN to the solution slows down kinetics appreciably. Interestingly, complete nucleation inhibition is observed at significantly lower OPN, namely, 3.2 × 10-8 M, than Mg2+ concentrations, 0.875 × 10-4 M. The observed inhibition effect of OPN emphasizes the often-overlooked role of macromolecules on COM nucleation due to their low concentration presence in urine. Moreover, analysis of growth rates calculated from observed lag times suggests that inhibition in the presence of Mg2+ cannot be explained solely on altered supersaturation. The presented study highlights the potential of microfluidics in overcoming a major challenge in nephrolithiasis research, the overwhelming physiochemical complexity of urine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number064103
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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