Strain-related Differences in Urine Composition of Male Rats of Potential Relevance to Urolithiasis

Sarah H. Tannehill-Gregg, Mark A. Dominick, Amy J. Reisinger, Jeffrey D. Moehlenkamp, C. Robbie Waites, David A. Stock, Thomas P. Sanderson, Samuel M. Cohen, Lora L. Arnold, Beth E. Schilling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In carcinogenicity studies with PPAR γ and α/γ agonists, urinary bladder tumors have been reported in Harlan Sprague-Dawley (HSD) and Charles River Sprague-Dawley (SD) but not Wistar (WI) rats, with urolithiasis purported to be the inciting event. In two 3-month studies, the authors investigated strain-related differences in urine composition by sampling urine multiple times daily. Urine pH, electrolytes, creatinine, protein, citrate and oxalate levels, and serum citrate were assessed; urine sediment was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. HSD rats had significantly higher urine calcium than SD or WI rats, primarily as calcium phosphate-containing precipitate. When compared to SD rats, HSD rats had lower urine volume, higher urine protein, and a comparable (week 4) to lower (week 13) burden of MgNH4PO4 aggregates. Relative to WI rats, HSD rats had higher urine protein and magnesium and lower serum and urine citrate. Overall, the susceptibility to urolithiasis in male rats was HSD > SD > WI; this was likely due to strain-related differences in the amount of urine protein (a nidus for crystal formation), lithogenic ions, citrate (an inhibitor of lithogenesis), and/or volume. Strain-related differences in urine composition need to be considered when interpreting the outcome of studies with compounds that alter urine composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-305
Number of pages13
JournalToxicologic Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • composition
  • rat
  • strain
  • urinalysis
  • urine
  • urolithiasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology


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