The role of phosphorus in the development of secondary hyperparathyroidism and parathyroid cell proliferation in chronic renal failure

Eduardo Slatopolsky, Adriana Dusso, Alex J. Brown

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71 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hyperplasia of the parathyroid glands and high levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) are among the most consistent findings in patients with chronic renal failure. In early renal failure, alterations in vitamin D metabolism play a key role in the development of secondary hyperparathyroidism. Low levels of calcitriol and decreased expression of the vitamin D responsive element may allow greater synthesis and secretion of PTH. Phosphorus independent of serum calcium and calcitriol increases PTH synthesis and secretion by a post-transcriptional mechanism. Studies in vivo in uremic rats demonstrated that an increase in dietary phosphorus induces parathyroid gland hyperplasia. If the rats are then fed a low-phosphorus diet, the levels of serum PTH return to normal; however, the size of the parathyroid glands remains enlarged. No apoptosis was observed in the glands. To further characterize the effects of phosphorus on PTH synthesis and secretion, intact rat parathyroid glands were metabolically labeled during a 4-hour incubation in methionine-free medium containing 1.25 mM Ca2+, [35S]methionine, and either 2.8 mM or 0.2 mM phosphorus. Total PTH secretion, as measured in the medium, was increased more than 6-fold in glands incubated in high-phosphorus medium compared with glands incubated in the low-phosphorus medium. Thus, in the past 20 years, numerous investigators have provided strong evidence for the action of phosphorus on PTH secretion. Unfortunately, the absence of a parathyroid cell line is slowing the progress in understanding the molecular mechanism(s) involved in phosphorus regulation of PTH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-376
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Volume317
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1999

Keywords

  • Calcitriol
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Phosphorus
  • Uremia

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