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Kidney Int. 2014 Dec;86(6):1106-15. doi: 10.1038/ki.2014.215. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Parathyroid hormone activates the orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1 to induce FGF23 transcription.

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Department of Nephrology, Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.
Amgen, Thousand Oaks, California, USA.
Department of Pathology, Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.


Parathyroid hormone (PTH) increases FGF23 mRNA and protein levels in vivo and in vitro. Here we tested whether the increased FGF23 expression by PTH is mediated by the orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1. PTH increased Nurr1 mRNA levels prior to elevation of FGF23 mRNA levels in UMR-106 rat osteoblast-like cells. Activation of PKA increased both FGF23 and Nurr1 mRNA levels. Modification of Nurr1 expression showed that Nurr1 is essential for the PTH-mediated increase in FGF23 and luciferase reporter gene experiments identified a functional promoter region containing several potential Nurr1 binding sites. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays confirmed the binding of Nurr1 to these regions in the FGF23 promoter. In vivo, Nurr1 mRNA and protein levels were increased in calvaria from rats with experimental CKD together with high PTH and FGF23 expression. Calcimimetics decrease PTH and FGF23 levels in CKD patients. Importantly, in rats with experimental CKD, the calcimimetic R568 decreased PTH expression, calvaria Nurr1 mRNA and protein levels, and FGF23 mRNA. Immunohistochemistry for Nurr1 showed an increase in the number of Nurr1 expressing osteocytes in the femurs of rats with CKD and this was decreased by R568. Thus, the effect of PTH to increase FGF23 transcription is mediated by Nurr1 in vitro and in vivo. In CKD, calcimimetics decrease PTH, which in turn decreases Nurr1 and consequently FGF23.

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