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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Apr;86(4):1525-31.

Parathyroid hormone-related protein-(1--36) stimulates renal tubular calcium reabsorption in normal human volunteers: implications for the pathogenesis of humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


All would agree that hypercalcemia occurs among patients with humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy (HHM) as a result of osteoclastic bone resorption. Some studies suggest that enhanced renal calcium reabsorption, which plays an important pathophysiological role in the hypercalcemia occurring in primary hyperparathyroidism, is also important pathophysiologically in HHM. Other studies have not agreed. In large part, these differences result from the inability to accurately assess creatinine and calcium clearance in critically ill subjects with HHM. To circumvent these issues, we have developed steady state 48-h PTH-related protein (PTHrP) infusion and 8-h hypercalcemic calcium clamp protocols. These techniques allow assessment of the effects of steady state PTHrP and calcium infusions in normal healthy volunteers in a setting in which renal function is stable and measurable and in which the filtered load of calcium can be matched in PTHrP- and calcium-infused subjects. Normal subjects were infused with saline (placebo), PTHrP, or calcium. Subjects receiving PTHrP, as expected, displayed mild hypercalcemia (10.2 mg/dL), suppression of endogenous PTH-(1--84), and phosphaturia. Subjects receiving the hypercalcemic calcium clamp displayed indistinguishable degrees of hypercalcemia and PTH suppression. Despite their matched degrees of hypercalcemia and PTH suppression, the two groups differed importantly with regard to fractional calcium excretion (FECa). The hypercalcemic calcium clamp group was markedly hypercalciuric (FECa averaged 6.5%), whereas FECa in the PTHrP-infused subjects was approximately 50% lower (between 2.5--3.7%), and no different from that in the normal controls, which ranged from 1.5--3.0%. These studies demonstrate that PTHrP is able to stimulate renal calcium reabsorption in healthy volunteers. These studies suggest that PTHrP-induced renal calcium reabsorption, in concert with the well established acceleration of osteoclastic bone resorption, contributes in a significant way to the hypercalcemia observed in patients with HHM.

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