Calcitonin has been isolated and its structure defined from several species, including man. Synthetic preparations of several calcitonins are available for clinical use. Of these, porcine (pCT), human (hCT), and salmon (sCT) have been synthetized according to their natural sequences, while eel calcitonin (cCT) is available as amino-suberic acid derivative (ASU-eCT). The different molecular configuration results in different biological potency and tolerability. Currently, the potency of calcitonin in man is evaluated by its capacity of lowering serum calcium and stimulating cAMP plasma levels after acute infusion. In normal subjects, cAMP stimulation seems to be a more sensitive test, since plasma calcium in normal subjects is poorly affected by an acute treatment with calcitonin. On the other hand, the side effects are usually assessed by clinical observation, on the basis of duration and intensity of the symptoms. Our experience, emerging from several studies devoted to comparing the biological activity and tolerability of different calcitonin preparations in humans, indicates that the hypocalcemic effect and the increase of plasma cAMP are produced by all peptides, according to the potency ordersCT > hCT > ASU-eCT. For all peptides, the most constant side effects is flushing, and the frequency order of side effects is hCT > sCT = ASU-eCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-347
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1990


  • cAMP
  • calcitonin
  • osteoporisis


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