Article Abstract

The role of Randall plaques on kidney stone formation

Authors: Hsiao-Jen Chung


Randall’s plaque is microscopically a plaque of calcium deposited in the interstitial tissue of the renal papilla. These plaques are thought to serve as a nidus for urinary stone formation. Large amounts of Randall’s plaque are unique to idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers. Although Randall’s plaques can be found in other stone formers, only in idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers, the detailed mechanism of stone overgrow on plaque was thoroughly studied. Calcification is invariably located in the basement membrane of the loops of Henle and from there plaques spread through the interstitium toward urothelium. Within the basement membrane, mineral deposits are individual laminated particles in which zones of crystal and organic matrix overlay each other. In the interstitium, the particles appear to fuse on the collagen bundles to form a syncytium of crystal islands in an organic sea. By loss of integrity of urothelium, regions of plaque are exposed to urine. The exposed surface will touch and be covered by molecules of urine origin, including osteopontin, Tamm Horsfall protein, and crystals formed under urine supersaturations, resulting in a ribbon of alternating matrix and crystal. Eventually crystallization escapes from matrix modulation and crystals extend outward into the space of urine and begin to form a calcium oxalate stone proper. Randall’s plaque plays an important role and is prerequisite of kidney stone formation in idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers.