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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Aug;75(2):494-501.

Influence of vitamin D on parathyroid function in the elderly.

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  • 1Endocrinology Unit, Hospital Regional Universitario Reina Sofia, Cordoba, Spain.


The effect of age and vitamin D status on parathyroid function was studied in 129 healthy subjects between 20 and 89 yr old, with normal serum creatinine (less than 0.11 mmol/L), and living in Cordoba, Spain. Serum calcium and phosphorus as well as 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25-(OH)2D] decreased, whereas serum alkaline phosphatase increased, with age. Serum PTH also increased significantly with age when measured with either a carboxyl-terminal (cPTH) or an intact [PTH(1-84)] assay. The increase in cPTH, however, exceeded largely the increase in PTH(1-84) (+120% and +30% in subjects above 80 yr vs. young adults, respectively). Serum PTH(1-84) was negatively correlated with serum (ionized) calcium, 25OHD, and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) but not with serum 1,25-(OH)2D. Serum 1,25-(OH)2D decreased with age and was highly correlated with serum 25OHD, cPTH, and IGF-I. In multiple regression analysis 50-60% of the variation of total and free 1,25-(OH)2D could be explained by serum 25OHD, PTH(1-84), and especially IGF-I, suggesting a possible role of decreasing GH and IGF-I concentrations in the mineral homeostasis of the elderly. Calcium infusion (1.5 mg/kg body weight over 10 min) decreased serum PTH(1-84) to below normal concentrations in young adults (nadir 14% of basal concentration), whereas the nadir in elderly subjects with secondary hyperparathyroidism was only 32% of basal concentration. The relative decrease was, however, identical in both age groups when simultaneous changes in ionized calcium were taken into account. Basal serum PTH(1-84) in selected elderly subjects (50 +/- 10 ng/L or 5 +/- 1 pmol/L, n = 10) decreased significantly (2.7 +/- 0.9 pmol/L, P less than 0.01) after 3 iv injections of 1,25-(OH)2D during 1 week without changes in serum (ionized) calcium. The PTH suppressibility after calcium infusion did not further improve.


elderly patients with normal serum creatinine had a small (+30%) but significant increase in intact serum PTH concentration but the mean concentration still remained within the normal range. The PTH secretion remained normally suppressible by acute calcium infusion. Treatment with 1,25-(OH)2D decreased basal calcium-PTH setpoint without further additional effects during calcium infusion.

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