Effects of an aqueous extract from Phyllanthus niruri on calcium oxalate crystallization in vitro

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Barros, M. E.
Schor, N.
Boim, M. A.
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Phyllanthus niruri is a plant used in Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment of urolithiasis. It was previously observed that P. niruri shows no toxicity, potentially increases calculus voiding by stone forming patients and inhibits the endocytosis of calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals by MDCK cells. in addition, in a rat model of urolithiasis it reduced calculus growth. in the present study, we evaluated the effect of an aqueous extract of P. niruri on CaOx crystallization in vitro. CaOx precipitation was induced by the addition of 0.1 M sodium oxalate to unfiltered urine samples from Wistar rats (n = 14) and normal humans (n = 18) in the presence or absence of P. niruri extract (0.25 mg/ml of urine). the presence of CaOx crystals was evaluated immediately and 24 h later. in vitro crystallization of human urine produced typical mono- and dihydrated CaOx crystals, but only a few typical CaOx crystals were found in rat urine. the presence of P. niruri extract did not inhibit CaOx precipitation and even more crystals were obtained, although they were significantly smaller than those in the control urine. Crystal aggregation observed 24 h after crystallization was also inhibited by P. niruri extract. the results showed an inhibitory effect of P. niruri extract on CaOx crystal growth and aggregation in human urine, suggesting that it may interfere with the early stages of stone formation and may represent an alternative form of treatment and/or prevention of urolithiasis.
Urological Research. New York: Springer-verlag, v. 30, n. 6, p. 374-379, 2003.