Research Article

Crystal Growth Inhibitors for the Prevention of l-Cystine Kidney Stones Through Molecular Design

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Science  15 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6002, pp. 337-341
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191968

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Crystallization of l-cystine is a critical step in the pathogenesis of cystine kidney stones. Treatments for this disease are somewhat effective but often lead to adverse side effects. Real-time in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) reveals that l-cystine dimethylester (L-CDME) and l-cystine methylester (L-CME) dramatically reduce the growth velocity of the six symmetry-equivalent {100} steps because of specific binding at the crystal surface, which frustrates the attachment of l-cystine molecules. L-CDME and L-CME produce l-cystine crystals with different habits that reveal distinct binding modes at the crystal surfaces. The AFM observations are mirrored by reduced crystal yield and crystal size in the presence of L-CDME and L-CME, collectively suggesting a new pathway to the prevention of l-cystine stones by rational design of crystal growth inhibitors.

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