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Pediatr Res. 1991 Feb;29(2):201-7.

Circulating levels of biologically active and immunoreactive intact parathyroid hormone in human newborns.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


We evaluated circulating levels of biologically active and immunoreactive intact parathyroid hormone [iPTH-(1-84)] in 47 newborns at birth and eight hypocalcemic preterm infants during the first 10 d of life. Use of two sensitive detection systems, the cytochemical bioassay and an immunoradiometric assay specific for intact parathyroid hormone, enabled us to compare plasma concentrations of PTH-like bioactivity (bioPTH) and iPTH-(1-84). Mean umbilical venous plasma bioPTH was elevated in nondiabetic term and preterm newborns [22.5 +/- 3.1 (+/- SEM) and 15.8 +/- 2.5 ng-equiv/L, respectively] compared with normal adult subjects (9.8 +/- 2.6 ng-equiv/L; p less than 0.01). Umbilical bioPTH was suppressed in five term infants of diabetic mothers (2.6 +/- 0.4 ng-equiv/L). In contrast, iPTH-(1-84) was low in term and preterm nondiabetic infants' and term infants of diabetic mothers' umbilical samples (5.4 +/- 1.5, 4.3 +/- 1.5, and 2.4 +/- 1.0 ng/L, respectively). Umbilical venous bioPTH was highly correlated with the magnitude of the transplacental calcium gradient (r = 0.90; p less than 0.05). In eight preterm infants studied longitudinally, by 24-36 h of life, declining plasma total and ionized calcium (1.71 +/- 0.04 and 0.78 +/- 0.03 mmol/L, respectively) were accompanied by a significant rise in both bioPTH (41.2 +/- 6.3 ng-equiv/L) and iPTH-(1-84) (56.3 +/- 11.6 ng/L). These data indicate that the 3rd trimester fetoplacental circulation contains levels of bioPTH several-fold higher than those of immunoreactive intact hormone. We also conclude that even hypocalcemic preterm newborn infants can significantly elevate circulating levels of PTH.

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