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N Engl J Med. 1982 May 13;306(19):1136-40.

Calcium homeostasis in immobilization: an example of resorptive hypercalciuria.


Prolonged immobilization may result in hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, and osteoporosis. Although bone resorption is central to this syndrome, the mechanism of resorption is uncertain. In particular, the role of systemic calcium-regulating hormones remains unclear. In 14 immobilized subjects we measured fasting calcium excretion, 24-hour urinary calcium excretion during restricted calcium intake, the renal phosphorus threshold, plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, nephrogenous cyclic AMP, and immunoreactive parathyroid hormone. Mean serum calcium levels were normal, but fasting and 24-hour calcium excretion were markedly elevated (0.28 mg per deciliter of glomerular filtrate and 314 mg per 24 hours, respectively). The mean levels of serum phosphorus (4.8 mg per deciliter) and the renal phosphorus threshold (4.3 mg per deciliter) were elevated. Mean plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D was strikingly reduced (9.9 pg per milliliter), as were nephrogenous cyclic (0.64 nmol per deciliter of glomerular filtrate) and immunoreactive parathyroid hormone in both assays. These findings indicate that the parathyroid--1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D axis is suppressed in patients with immobilization-induced hypercalciuria, as would be predicted by a model of resorptive hypercalciuria.

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