Stone formation in the urinary tract is a multifactorial world-wide disease afflicting between 8 and 20% of population groups in different geographical locations. Discrimination between stone formers and healthy persons on the basis of urine composition remains a crucial goal among researchers. Since 1 H NMR is able to monitor the metabolic function of the kidney we applied it to the urine of 60 stone formers (34 females, 26 males) and 38 healthy persons (14 females, 24 males). Spectra were normalized relative to an internal standard and integrated over 37 consecutive regions. The resulting data were subjected to principal component and canonical discriminant analysis. Excellent discrimination between patient and controls for both genders was achieved, with all the data falling within the 95% confidence interval. The most important variables allowing for this inter-group separation correspond to those associated with protein signals. We therefore speculate that the discrimination between patients and controls may be due to the presence or absence of macromolecular stone promoters and/or inhibitors. This supports numerous in vitro studies demonstrating that urinary macromolecules play significant roles in stone formation and prevention. Our finding that 1 H NMR analysis of urine differentiates between stone formers and healthy persons represents an important breakthrough for rapid screening of individuals who are at risk for this disease.

NMR in biomedicine. 2019 Sep 03 [Epub ahead of print]

Sheila Shadbolt, Graham E Jackson, Allen L Rodgers

Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Town, South Africa.