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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Nov;83(11):3839-44.

The set point of parathyroid hormone stimulation by calcium is normal in progressive renal failure.

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Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal Research Center, Saint-Luc Campus, Quebec, Canada.


An increased set point of PTH stimulation by ionized calcium (Ca++) has been observed in renal failure patients with severe secondary hyperparathyroidism. The extension of this concept to all renal failure patients has remained problematic, even if it could explain elevated PTH levels in the absence of other biochemical abnormalities. We were particularly interested in seeing whether the concept could fit patients with progressive renal failure (PRF). To achieve this, we studied 26 normals (N), 9 patients with PRF, and 12 hemodialyzed patients (HD) in the basal state and during parathyroid function tests. The latter two groups were studied at the end of winter and end of summer, respectively. Patients with PRF had normal levels of Ca++, PO4, and 1,25(OH)2D, and they had low-normal concentrations of 25(OH)D; their basal I- and C-PTH levels were 3- and 4-fold higher than N, as were their creatinine levels. HD had significantly lower levels of Ca++ and 1,25(OH)2D, and they had higher levels of phosphate, creatinine, I-PTH, and C-PTH than N or PRF. Stimulated levels of I-PTH were similar in N (13.6 +/- 4.3 pmol/L) and PFR (18 +/- 3.3 pmol/L) and elevated in HD (37.1 +/- 28.7 pmol/L; P < 0.001 vs. N, and P < 0.05 vs. PRF). Nonsuppressible I-PTH was increased 2-fold in PRF (N = 0.64 +/- 0.19 vs. PRF = 1.28 +/- 0.46 pmol/L; P < 0.01) and 6-fold in HD (3.95 +/- 2.85 pmol/L; P < 0.001 vs. others). But the set point of I-PTH stimulation by Ca++ was normal in PRF (N = 1.18 +/- 0.03 vs. PRF = 1.20 +/- 0.04 mmol/L; not significant) and decreased in HD (1.09 +/- 0.04 mmol/L; P < 0.001 vs. others). Similar results were obtained with the set point of C-PTH and of the C-PTH/I-PTH ratio. A positive correlation was observed between serum Ca++ concentration and the set point value when all three populations were analyzed together (r = 0.759, n = 47, P < 0.0001). These results indicate that the set point of PTH stimulation is normal in PRF and decreased in hypocalcemic HD. The set point seems to adjust to the ambient Ca++ concentration of the patients, by mechanisms yet to be elucidated. This does not suggest participation of this factor to the genesis of the secondary hyperparathyroidism of PRF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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