Nanoparticle tracking analysis for the enumeration and characterization of mineralo-organic nanoparticles in feline urine

M. Mellema, M. Stoller, Y. Queau, S. P. Ho, T. Chi, Jennifer A Larsen, N. Passlack, Andrea J Fascetti, Frederick C Mohr, Joellen L Westropp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Urinary stone disease, particularly calcium oxalate, is common in both humans and cats. Calcifying nanoparticles (CNP) are spherical nanocrystallite material, and are composed of proteins (fetuin, albumin) and inorganic minerals. CNP are suggested to play a role in a wide array of pathologic mineralization syndromes including urolithiasis. We documented the development of a clinically relevant protocol to assess urinary CNP in 9 healthy cats consuming the same diet in a controlled environment using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA®). NTA® is a novel method that allows for characterization of the CNP in an efficient, accurate method that can differentiate these particles from other urinary submicron particulates. The predominant nanoscale particles in feline urine are characteristic of CNP in terms of their size, their ability to spontaneously form under suitable conditions, and the presence of an outer layer that is rich in calcium and capable of binding to hydroxyapatite binders such as alendronate and osteopontin. The expansion of this particle population can be suppressed by the addition of citrate to urine samples. Further, compounds targeting exosomal surfaces do not label these particulates. As CNP have been associated with a number of significant urologic maladies, the method described herein may prove to be a useful adjunct in evaluating lithogenesis risk in mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0166045
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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