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Calcif Tissue Int. 1999 Oct;65(4):257-61.

Parathyroid hormone secretory response to EDTA-induced hypocalcemia in black and white premenopausal women.

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Regional Bone and Clinical Research Centers, Helen Hayes Hospital, West Haverstraw, New York 10993, USA.


One consistent racial difference in mineral homeostasis is increased efficiency of renal calcium conservation in blacks which could account, in part, for differences in bone density and fracture risk. Since parathyroid hormone (PTH) is the major regulator of calcium homeostasis, we investigated its secretion in black and white women in response to hypocalcemia. Two hour EDTA infusions (50 mg/kg) were performed in 34 premenopausal women (17 black, 17 white). Blood was sampled at 30-minute intervals during the infusion, at 60-minute intervals for 3 more hours, and at 24 hours. Serum ionized calcium decreased identically in both groups with a nadir at 2 hours and returned to baseline within 24 hours. Serum 1-84 PTH levels rose similarly in both groups with a peak PTH level that was slightly higher in black women, and on average, slightly earlier than that in white women. Serum PTH levels remained elevated in both groups at 24 hours with no overall group differences in PTH response. In black, but not white women, serum 25OHD levels correlated negatively with both basal PTH and peak PTH level, achieved with infusion. Serum 1, 25(OH)(2)D levels rose and osteocalcin levels decreased, with no group differences. We conclude that overall, premenopausal black women show no clear differences in PTH secretory activity to an EDTA-induced hypocalcemic stimulus. Basal vitamin D status appeared to be a determinant of the degree of the PTH response in black women, with the peak PTH level being inversely correlated with levels of 25OHD. Since we have previously shown that the skeleton contributes less to acute calcium needs in blacks than in whites, the lack of a racial difference in PTH secretory responsivity suggests that calcium homeostasis is more likely maintained in blacks through greater PTH sensitivity at extraskeletal sites, such as the kidney.

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