Spectroscopic study of the inhibition of calcium oxalate calculi by Larrea tridentata

Luis Alonso Pinales, University of Texas at El Paso


The causes of urolithiasis include such influences as diet, metabolic disorders, and genetic factors which have been documented as sources that aggravate urinary calculi depositions and aggregations, and, implicitly, as causes of urolithiasis. This study endeavors to detail the scientific mechanisms involved in calcium oxalate calculi formation, and, more importantly, their inhibition under growth conditions imposed by the traditional medicinal approach using the herbal extract, Larrea tridentata. The calculi were synthesized without and with Larrea tridentata infusion by employing the single diffusion gel technique. A visible decrease in calcium oxalate crystal growth with increasing amounts of Larrea tridentata herbal infusion was observed in photomicrographs, as well as a color change from white-transparent for pure crystals to light orange-brown for crystals with inhibitor. Analysis of the samples, which includes Raman, infrared absorption, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) techniques, demonstrate an overall transition in morphology of the crystals from monohydrate without herbal extract to dihydrate with inhibitor. Furthermore, the resulting data from Raman and infrared absorption support the possibilities of the influences, in this complex process, of NDGA and its derivative compounds from Larrea tridentata, and of the bonding of the magnesium of the inhibitor with the oxalate ion on the surface of the calculi crystals. This assumption corroborates well with the micrographs obtained under higher magnification, which show that the separated small crystallites consist of darker brownish cores, which we attribute to the dominance of growth inhibition by NDGA, surrounded by light transparent thin shells, which possibly correspond to passivation of the crystals by magnesium oxalate. The SEM results reveal the transformation from the dominant monoclinic structure of the calcium oxalate crystals grown alone to the tetragonal dipyramidal crystal structure of the calcium oxalate crystals grown with Larrea tridentata. Comparison between XRD experimental and simulated data, besides corroborating with our previous results, show that each sample is a combination of different structures.

Subject Area

Pharmacology|Molecular physics|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Pinales, Luis Alonso, "Spectroscopic study of the inhibition of calcium oxalate calculi by Larrea tridentata" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3426851.