Drosophila melanogaster as an emerging translational model of human nephrolithiasis

Joe Miller, Thomas Chi, Pankaj Kapahi, Arnold J. Kahn, Man Su Kim, Taku Hirata, Michael F. Romero, Julian A.T. Dow, Marshall L. Stoller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Purpose: The limitations imposed by human clinical studies and mammalian models of nephrolithiasis have hampered the development of effective medical treatments and preventive measures for decades. The simple but elegant Drosophila melanogaster is emerging as a powerful translational model of human disease, including nephrolithiasis. It may provide important information essential to our understanding of stone formation. We present the current state of research using D. melanogaster as a model of human nephrolithiasis. Materials and Methods: We comprehensively reviewed the English language literature using PubMed-. When necessary, authoritative texts on relevant subtopics were consulted. Results: The genetic composition, anatomical structure and physiological function of Drosophila malpighian tubules are remarkably similar to those of the human nephron. The direct effects of dietary manipulation, environmental alteration and genetic variation on stone formation can be observed and quantified in a matter of days. Several Drosophila models of human nephrolithiasis have been developed, including genetically linked and environmentally induced stones. A model of calcium oxalate stone formation is among the most recent fly models of human nephrolithiasis. Conclusions: The ability to readily manipulate and quantify stone formation in D. melanogaster models of human nephrolithiasis presents the urological community with a unique opportunity to increase our understanding of this enigmatic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1648-1656
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Animal
  • Disease models
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Kidney
  • Malpighian tubules
  • Nephrolithiasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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