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Annu Rev Physiol. 2008;70:257-71.

Mechanisms and regulation of epithelial Ca2+ absorption in health and disease.

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Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Bern, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland.


Ca2+ is essential for numerous physiological functions in our bodies. Therefore, its homeostasis is finely maintained through the coordination of intestinal absorption, renal reabsorption, and bone resorption. The Ca2+-selective epithelial channels TRPV5 and TRPV6 have been identified, and their physiological roles have been revealed: TRPV5 is important in final renal Ca2+ reabsorption, and TRPV6 has a key role in intestinal Ca2+ absorption. The TRPV5 knockout mice exhibit renal leak hypercalciuria and accordingly upregulate their intestinal TRPV6 expression to compensate for their negative Ca2+ balance. In contrast, despite their severe negative Ca2+ balance, TRPV6-null mice do not display any compensatory mechanism, thus resulting in secondary hyperparathyroidism. These results indicate that the genes for TRPV5 and TRPV6 are differentially regulated in human diseases associated with disturbed Ca2+ balance such as hypercalciuria, osteoporosis, and vitamin D-resistant rickets.

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