Gender-related effects on urine l-cystine metastability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cystinuria is an autosomal recessive disease that causes l-cystine precipitation in urine and nephrolithiasis. Disease severity is highly variable; it is known, however, that cystinuria has a more severe course in males. The aim of this study was to compare l-cystine metastability in first-morning urine collected from 24 normal female and 24 normal male subjects. Samples were buffered at pH 5 and loaded with l-cystine (0.4 and 4 mM final concentration) to calculate the amount remaining in solution after overnight incubation at 4 C; results were expressed as Z scores reflecting the l-cystine solubility in each sample. In addition, metabolomic analyses were performed to identify candidate compounds that influence l-cystine solubility. l-cystine solubility Z score was +0.44 ± 1.1 and -0.44 ± 0.70 in female and male samples, respectively (p <0.001). Further analyses showed that the l-cystine solubility was independent from urine concentration but was significantly associated with low urinary excretion of inosine (p = 0.010), vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) (p = 0.015), adenosine (p = 0.029), and guanosine (p = 0.032). In vitro l-cystine precipitation assays confirmed that these molecules induce higher rates of l-cystine precipitation in comparison with their corresponding dideoxy molecules, used as controls. In silico computational and modeling analyses confirmed higher binding energy of these compounds. These data indicate that urinary excretion of nucleosides and VMA may represent important factors that modulate l-cystine solubility and may represent new targets for therapy in cystinuria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-427
Number of pages13
JournalAmino Acids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Cystinuria
  • Gender
  • Metastability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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