Osteopontin (OPN) is a phosphorylated protein of wide tissue distribution that is found in association with dystrophic calcification including in the organic matrix of kidney stones. It is a strong inhibitor of crystal formation and growth in vitro, but there is still debate regarding its effects upon crystal adhesion to tubular epithelial cells. In this brief review, we will outline the evidence implicating OPN in stone disease with the primary emphasis being on the interaction of OPN with calcium oxalate (CaOx), the major constituent of calcium containing stones. Finally, preliminary data is presented regarding the amounts and features of OPN present in the urine of stone formers and normal individuals.
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