, Volume 43, Supplement 1, pp 41–45

Vascular theory of the formation of Randall plaques

Invited Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00240-014-0718-4

Cite this article as:
Taylor, E.R. & Stoller, M.L. Urolithiasis (2015) 43(Suppl 1): 41. doi:10.1007/s00240-014-0718-4


The relationship between calcium-based calculi and Randall plaques is well documented, but the role these plaques play in the early process of urinary stone formation remains unknown. The vascular hypothesis of Randall plaque formation has been proposed, and recent works support this concept. The renal papilla’s vascular environment is subject to relative hypoxia, hyperosmolar surroundings, and turbulent blood flow. These factors together create an environment prone to vascular injury and may potentiate Randall plaque precipitation. Recent data support the similarity between the vascular calcification process itself and urinary stone formation. Furthermore, epidemiological studies have suggested an association between urinary stones, adverse cardiovascular events, and vascular calcification risk factors. The concept that an initial vascular insult precipitates a Randall plaque and subsequent urolithiasis is compelling and represents an area in need of continued research. This may lead to future novel treatment approaches to urolithiasis.


Randall plaques Calcium phosphate Kidney stone Vascular injury Vascular calcification 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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