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Bone. 2002 May;30(5):655-63.

Forty years of calcitonin--where are we now? A tribute to the work of Iain Macintyre, FRS.

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Departments of Medicine and Geriatrics, Mount Sinai Bone Program, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave Levy Place, Box 1055, New York, NY 10029, USA.


Calcitonin was discovered as a hypocalcemic principal that was initially thought to originate from the parathyroid gland. This view was corrected subsequently, and an origin from the thyroid C cells was documented. The purification and sequencing of various calcitonins soon followed. Calcitonin is a 32-amino-acid-long peptide with an N-terminal disulfide bridge and a C-terminal prolineamide residue. The peptide was shown to potently inhibit bone resorption; however, a direct osteoclastic action of the peptide was confirmed only in the early 1980s. Several osteoclast calcitonin receptors have subsequently been cloned and sequenced. Specific regions of the receptor necessary for ligand binding and intracellular signaling through cyclic AMP and calcium have been identified through systematic deletion mutagenesis and chimeric receptor studies. Calcitonin's potent antiresorptive effect has led to its use in treating Paget's disease of bone, osteoporosis, and hypercalcemia. This review retraces key aspects of the synthesis and structure of calcitonin, its cellular and molecular actions, and its therapeutic uses as they have emerged over the 40 years since its discovery. The review also examines the implications of these findings for future clinical applications as a tribute to early workers to whom credit must be given for creation of an important and expanding field. Notable are the new approaches currently being used to enhance calcitonin action, including novel allosteric activators of the calcitonin receptor, modulation of the release of endogenous calcitonin by calcimimetic agents, as well as the development of oral calcitonins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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