Characterization of Tamm-Horsfall protein in a rat nephrolithiasis model

Jayashree A. Gokhale, Patricia A. Glenton, Saeed R. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose: The role of Tamm-Horsfall protein in calcium oxalate stone formation is controversial. It is unclear whether Tamm-Horsfall protein has a role in crystallization. If it does, does it act as an inhibitor or promoter of crystallization? To elucidate the nature of its involvement we characterized Tamm-Horsfall protein in a rat model of calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis by in vivo and in vitro techniques. Materials and Methods: Calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats. The amino acid and carbohydrate composition of Tamm-Horsfall protein from normal rats and those with nephrolithiasis was determined. The Tamm-Horsfall protein gene and protein expression in the kidneys were examined by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, the interaction of Tamm-Horsfall protein and calcium oxalate crystals was assessed by an in vitro crystal aggregation assay. Results: Tamm-Horsfall protein from rats with nephrolithiasis was biochemically similar to that from normal rats. Although Tamm-Horsfall protein was associated with crystal deposits in the renal papillae of rats with nephrolithiasis, Tamm-Horsfall protein messenger RNA expression in the kidneys remained unchanged. In each group Tamm-Horsfall protein inhibited calcium oxalate crystal aggregation by 47%, indicating no change in functional capabilities. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that urinary excretion, and the biochemical nature and functional capabilities of Tamm-Horsfall protein remain unchanged during experimental calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis. Although staining for Tamm-Horsfall protein was evident in the papillae of rats with nephrolithiasis, the site of Tamm-Horsfall protein synthesis remained cells of the thick ascending limbs of the loop of Henle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1492-1497
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium oxalate
  • Crystallization
  • Kidney
  • Kidney calculi
  • Rats
  • Sprague-Dawley

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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