Normal urine is frequently supersaturated with respect to calcium oxalate. Thus, urinary inhibitors of crystallization appear to have an important role in preventing urinary stone formation. Uropontin was isolated by monoclonal antibody immunoaffinity chromatography and has the same N-terminal sequence as osteopontin derived from bone. This urinary form of osteopontin is a potent inhibitor of calcium oxalate monohydrate crystal growth at concentrations (approximately 0.1 microM) that normally prevail in human urine. Interaction with calcium oxalate monohydrate in vivo was shown by analysis of EDTA extracts of calcium stones. Uropontin is an abundant component of calcium oxalate monohydrate stones and present in only trace quantities in calcium oxalate dihydrate and hydroxyapatite stones. However, the precise role of uropontin in the pathogenesis of urinary stone formation is not known and is the subject of ongoing investigations.