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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2008 May 15;473(2):210-7. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Feb 16.

The role of calcitonin and alpha-calcitonin gene-related peptide in bone formation.

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  • 1Center of Biomechanics and Skeletal Biology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, Hamburg 20246, Germany.


The Calca gene encodes two polypeptides, calcitonin (CT) and alpha-calcitonin gene-related peptide (alpha-CGRP), generated through alternative splicing. While CT, a hormone mainly produced by thyroidal C cells, has been described as a major regulator of bone resorption, alpha-CGRP, a neuropeptide expressed in the cells of the central and peripheral nervous system, is mostly known as a regulator of vascular tone. Surprisingly, the generation and skeletal analyses of two mouse deficiency models has recently uncovered a physiological function for both peptides in the regulation of bone formation. In the first model, where the replacement of exons 2-5 of the Calca gene resulted in the combined deficiency of CT and alpha-CGRP, an increased bone formation rate (BFR) was observed, whereas decreased BFR was found in the second model, where the introduction of a translational termination codon into exon 5 of the Calca gene resulted in the specific absence of alpha-CGRP.

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