Urolithiasis pp 683-707 | Cite as

Application of Physical Methods to Kidney Stones and Randall’s Plaque Characterization


Chemical analysis of stones does not identify crystal types, as do physical methods. This chapter describes the principles and application of X-ray energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS), proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), powder neutron diffraction (PND), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), and FTIR microspectroscopy (FTIRM). Today, fine details regarding the relationship between structural characteristic of kidney stones and the pathology that exists at the macroscopic scale can be obtained at the mesoscopic scale.

Some of the key issues addressed are in addition to chemical composition, the spatial distribution of the different chemical phases inside Randall’s plaque, and the nature of the interaction between plaque, stone, and renal epithelium. Details regarding relevant concepts of these different methods used principally in physics and chemistry are not given, as they can be obtained from available excellent reviews and books. Instead, the detailed nature of information that is given by these techniques is discussed, and the link between structural or chemical information and the etiopathogenesis of kidney stones is explored.


Randall’s plaque Concretion Kidney stone Calcification Calcium oxalate Calcium phosphate Uric acid Ammonium hydrogen urate Magnesium ammonium phosphate Cystine X-ray energy dispersive spectrometry Proton-induced X-ray emission Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy Nanocrystals Crystallites X-ray fluorescence Scanning electron microscopy Powder neutron diffraction Amorphous carbonated calcium ­phosphate X-ray absorption spectroscopy FTIR microspectroscopy 



We wish to thank Dr. I. Brocheriou (Necker Hospital), Dr. X. Carpentier (Nice Hospital), Dr. Ch. Chappard (Lariboisière Hospital), Prof. P. Conort (La Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital), Dr. P. Dorfmüller (La Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital), Prof. D. Hannouche (Lariboisière Hospital), Dr. J. P. Haymann (Tenon Hospital), Prof. P. Jungers (Necker Hospital), Prof. B. Knebelman (Necker Hospital), Dr. E. A. Korn (Lariboisiere Hospital), Dr. E. Letavernier (Tenon Hospital), Prof. F. Lioté (Lariboisière Hospital), Prof. M. Mathonnet (Limoges Hospital), Prof. P. Meria (St. Louis Hospital), Dr. Ch. Nguyen (Lariboisière Hospital), Dr. I. Tostivint (La Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital), Prof. O. Traxer (Tenon Hospital), and Prof. J. C. Williams (Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN) for providing samples and useful discussions.

Also, regarding the physicochemistry, this research could not have been performed without the scientific advices of Dr. P. A. Albouy (LPS), Dr. G. André (LLB), Dr. A. Bianchi (INSERM-U7561), Dr. P. Chevallier (LURE), Dr. A. Cousson (LLB), Dr. P. Dumas (Soleil Synchrotron), Dr. B. Fayard (LPS), Dr. F. Fayon (CEHMTI), Dr. E. Foy (Laboratoire Pierre Süe), Dr. J. Guicheux (Laboratoire d’Ingénierie Ostéo-Articulaire et dentaire), Dr. J. L. Hazemann (ESRF), Dr. A. Lebail (Laboratoire des fluorures), Dr. Lenaour (INSERM U1004), Dr. O. Mathon (ESRF), Dr. G. Matzen (CEHMTI), Dr. P. Reboul (UMR 7561), Dr. M. Refringiers (Soleil Synchrotron), Dr. S. Reguer (Soleil Synchrotron), Dr. S. Rouzière (LPS), Dr. J. P. Samama (Soleil Synchrotron), Dr. Ch. Sandt (Soleil Synchrotron), Dr. D. Thiaudière (Soleil Synchrotron), Dr. E. Véron (CEHMTI), and Dr. R. Weil (LPS).

This work was supported by the Physics and Chemistry Institutes of CNRS and by contract ANR-09-BLAN-0120-02. The authors are grateful to the SOLEIL SR Facility and the Leon Brillouin laboratory for beam time allocation.


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© Springer-Verlag London 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Service des Explorations FonctionnellesTenon Hospital, APHPParisFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Physique des Solides UMR 8502Université Paris SudOrsay CedexFrance

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