Body fat content and distribution and urinary risk factors for nephrolithiasis

Federica Pigna, Khashayar Sakhaee, Beverley Adams-Huet, Naim M. Maalouf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background and objectives Obesity is associated with a higher risk of nephrolithiasis. However, it is not known whether higher body fat mass or abnormal fat distribution influences stone risk independent of dietary factors. Design, setting, participants, & measurements In this cross-sectional study, non-stone-forming men with no known kidney disease and with a wide range of body weight collected a 24-hour urine specimen while consuming a fixed metabolic diet. They underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to assess body composition and fat distribution. Urinary risk factors for nephrolithiasis and urine saturation with respect to calcium oxalate and uric acid (assessed as supersaturation index [SI]) were correlated with various measures of adiposity. Results Study participants included 21 men with a mean age of 52.1 years, mean weight of 91.1 kg, and mean total fat mass of 24.3 kg. Twenty-four-hour urine pH and SI uric acid were more closely correlated with fat mass than with lean mass or total body weight. Both 24-hour urine pH and SI uric acid were also significantly correlated with truncal fat mass but not with leg fat mass. Moreover, there was a significant negative correlation between truncal/leg fat mass and NH4+/net acid excretion ratio (R=-0.62; P=0.009). However, there was no significant association between SI calcium oxalate and body weight, lean mass, fat mass, trunk fat mass, or leg fat mass. Conclusions The association between 24-hour urine pH and SI uric acid and various measures of adiposity suggest that total body fat and trunk fat are more strongly associated with risk factors for uric acid stone formation than are total body weight and lean body mass. Under a controlled metabolic diet, adiposity is not associated with risk factors for calcium oxalate stones. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings in larger populations that include women and patients who form stones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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