Mineral Dystrophy – Pathology of Mineral Metabolism Disorder

Minerals are involved in the construction of structural elements of cells and tissues and are the part of enzymes, hormones, vitamins, protein complexes, play an important role in the maintenance of acid-base status, and determine the normal functioning of the organism. Mineral metabolism disorders (Mineral Dystrophy) are abnormal levels of minerals — either too much or too little — in the blood. Minerals are very important for the human body. They have various roles in metabolism and body functions. They are essential for the proper function of cells, tissues, and organs. We study this dystrophy in the pathology of Mineral Dystrophies. We can check it by mineral deficiency diseases chart & mineral metabolism test. there are having some metabolic disorders list which shows how these disorder showing their development.


Calcium is responsible for the conduction processes in the neuromuscular system, for the permeability of the cell membranes, blood coagulation, and formation of the skeleton. Bones are known to be calcium depots. In the pathological process, lacunar resorption of osteoclasts, bone tissue cells, occurs. Axillary resorption occurs without the participation of cells, wherein there is «smooth resorption or the formation of liquid bones. In the process of calcium metabolism disorder, the functional state of parathyroid glands producing parathyroid hormone, the functional state of the thyroid gland producing calcitonin and contributing to the transition of calcium from the blood into the bone tissue and its dietary intake, are of great importance.

Calcium metabolism disorder is called calcinosis calcareous degeneration or calcification. It is based on the deposition of insoluble calcium salts in the cells or intercellular substance. There is intracellular and extracellular calcification. Calcinosis may be systemic (widespread, Universalis) or local (circum-scripta).

The formation of stones (calculi)

Stones are very hard concretions freely lying in cavitary organs or excretory ducts of glands.

According to Pathology, Causes of stone formation may be local – parasecretion, inflammation, and general – hereditary or acquired metabolism disorder.

According to the mechanism of the development of calcification, it is divided into three types:

  1. Metastatic Calcification or “Calcareous metastasis” is characterized by hypercalcemia due to the release of calcium from the depot and its reduced excretion. There is an imbalance of endocrine regulation. It may occur in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, osteomalacia, mercuric chloride poisoning, multiple myeloma, tumors, and chronic nephritis.
  2. Dystrophic calcification – there is hypercalcemia, the process is local, physical and chemical characteristics are changed. It may develop in inflammation, in the scars (Fig. 28).
  3. metabolic calcification is an interstitial process. There are no local causes of hypercalcemia. There is a change in pH and protein colloids (buffer systems).
Figure 28. Petrifaction of artery wall of the uterus (local calcification), Stained with hematoxylin and eosin. 100-fold.
The formation of stones or calculi that are very hard concretions, in pathology is associated with the loss of salts from liquids in the cavitary organs and ducts.

Factors of stone formation can be: general – it is a state of metabolism and local – it is inflammation, stagnant secretion, or exudate. Stages of formation of stones:

  • Stage I – the formation of the matrix, precipitation of salts from the liquid;
  • Stage 2 – crystallization.

The shape of the stones, their color, size, the structure may be different and depend on the chemical composition and the presence of pigments sometimes acquiring the form of conglomerates.

Depending on the color the stones may be white – or phosphate: yellow – out of urites dark brown and dark yellow – these are pigment stones (out of bilirubin, uric acids).
According to their cut, the stones may be crystalloid. colloidal, and mixed.
According to their chemical composition, the stones may be: biliary, urinary, and bronchial.
Localization of stones: stones may be localized in the gallbladder, urinary bladder, veins (phleboliths), in the ducts of the glands, in the gut in chronic constipation (coprolites) in the vascular wall (Fig. 28, 29).
Figure 29 Gallstones in the gallbladder cavity
With the significance and results of the formation of stones in the prolonged pressure of the stones on the tissue, the development of necrosis is possible. what leads to the formation of decubitus, perforations, adhesions, fistulas, they may become the cause of inflammation, disturbance in secretion discharge, obstruction, occlusion of ducts, as well as the cause of local and general complications.


Copper is a required component of the cytoplasm and participates in enzymatic reactions. In Pathology, Copper metabolism disorder manifests itself as hepatic cerebral dystrophy. or Wilson’s disease. In hereditary disease, copper deposits in the liver, brain, kidneys, cornea, pancreas, testes, and other organs. Liver cirrhosis develops. In this disease, the Kayser-Fleischer ring is pathognomonic, which is characterized by the formation of green-brown-colored staining around the cornea. There are the following forms of the disease: hepatic, lenticular, and hepatolenticular (Fig. 30).

Figure 30. Kayser-Fleischer ring


Potassium is an important element taking part in the construction of the cell cytoplasm. There is an increased amount of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia) and tissues in Addison’s disease and associated with a lesion of the adrenal cortex, which hormones control the balance of electrolytes. In pathology, Potassium deficiency leads to periodic paralysis – a hereditary disease that manifests itself as fatigue attacks and the development of motor paralysis.