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Kidney Int. 2000 Jul;58(1):71-81.

PTHrP enhances the secretory response of PTH to a hypocalcemic stimulus in rat parathyroid glands.

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Nephrological Department P, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.



The secretion of parathyroid hormone (PTH) from the parathyroid glands might be regulated by autocrine/paracrine factors, and a feedback regulatory mechanism of PTH on the secretion of PTH has been suggested. Because of the existence of a common receptor between PTH and PTH-related peptide (PTHrP), the aim of the present study was to examine the possible effects of PTHrP 1-40 and 1-86 on PTH secretion in rats.


In vivo, the effect of PTHrP on Ca++-regulated PTH secretion was examined by the induction of hypocalcemia and hypercalcemia by an infusion of EGTA and Ca++, with and without PTHrP. The eventual effects of PTHrP on the peripheral metabolism of PTH were examined by infusion of human PTH (hPTH) with and without PTHrP. hPTH was measured by an intact hPTH assay not cross reacting with rat PTH or PTHrP. To examine whether near physiological levels of circulating PTH have an autoregulatory effect in vivo on PTH secretion from the parathyroid gland, an acute reduction of the circulating PTH was induced by an acute unilateral parathyroidectomy (UPTX). PTH secretion from the remaining parathyroid gland was followed in response to EGTA-induced hypocalcemia. In vitro investigations on the effect of PTHrP 1-40 on PTH secretion from whole rat parathyroid glands incubated in media containing a calcium concentration of 0.6 or 1.35 mmol/L were performed to confirm whether the effect of PTHrP was directly on the gland. The rat PTH assay was examined for cross reaction with PTHrP.


In vivo, the same rate of decrease of plasma Ca++ was induced in the experimental groups. The maximal response of PTH to hypocalcemia (218 +/- 16 pg/mL, N = 6) was significantly enhanced by PTHrP 1-40 (525 +/- 79 pg/mL, N = 6) and by PTHrP 1-86 (465 +/- 29 pg/mL, N = 6, P < 0.001). No effect of PTHrP on PTH secretion was found during normocalcemia or hypercalcemia. UPTX resulted in a 50% reduction of PTH secretion, and no compensatory increase of PTH was observed. PTHrP had no effect on the metabolism of PTH. In vitro, low-Ca++-induced PTH secretion was significantly augmented by 300% (P < 0.01) when the medium contained PTHrP 1-40. PTHrP did not cross react with the PTH assay.


PTHrP significantly enhanced the low-Ca++-stimulated PTH secretion in vivo and in vitro. An autocrine/paracrine role of PTHrP in the parathyroid glands is suggested. An autoregulatory effect of circulating PTH on the PTH secretion from parathyroid glands seems unlikely. The "maximal secretory capacity" of the parathyroid glands induced by hypocalcemia in vivo and in vitro is not the maximum, as PTH secretion can be increased even further, by several-fold.

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