What is the pathophysiology of parathyroid hormone (PTH)-mediated hypercalcemia?

Updated: Apr 11, 2018
  • Author: Thomas E Green, DO, MPH, MMM, CPE, FACEP, FACOEP; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Primary hyperparathyroidism originally was the disease of "stones, bones, and abdominal groans." In most primary hyperparathyroidism cases, the calcium elevation is caused by increased intestinal calcium absorption. This is mediated by the PTH-induced calcitriol synthesis that enhances calcium absorption. The increase in serum calcium results in an increase in calcium filtration at the kidney. Because of PTH-mediated absorption of calcium at the distal tubule, less calcium is excreted than might be expected. Hypercalcemia of this disorder may remain mild for long periods because some parathyroid adenomas respond to the feedback generated by the elevated calcium levels.


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