Intermittent administration of parathyroid hormone (1-37) improves growth and bone mineral density in uremic rats

Kidney Int. 2000 Apr;57(4):1484-92. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.2000.00993.x.


Background: Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is secreted in a pulsatile fashion. Continuous infusion of PTH(1-84) resulted in a net decrease in trabecular bone volume. Differential effects have been reported following an intermittent application of PTH. We investigated the effects of a continuous infusion and of an intermittent (2 times daily subcutaneously) administration of PTH(1-37) on growth and bone mineral density (BMD) in healthy and uremic rats.

Methods: Two-stage subtotal nephrectomy was performed on 130 g female Sprague-Dawley rats. PTH(1-37) or solvent was administered through minipumps in sham-operated and uremic rats (60 microg/kg x day for 2 weeks). The effect of intermittent administration was tested with a subcutaneous injection of solvent: 30 microg/kg PTH(1-37) two times per day, 100 pmol calcitriol (C)/kg two times per day, or both. The length (snout-tailtip) and BMD were measured at the start of uremia and at sacrifice. BMD was measured by peripheral quantitative computer tomography at the proximal tibia, 6 and 12 mm distal of the kneejoint space. Femur bone morphology was assessed by x-rays, and calcium content was measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

Results: Length gain was not altered by the continuous infusion of PTH. In contrast, it was significantly increased by intermittent PTH (control solvent 5.35 +/- 0.37 cm vs. control PTH 6.19 +/- 0.47 cm; uremia solvent 4.78 +/- 0.20 cm vs. uremia PTH 6.17 +/- 0.36 cm; P < 0.05). Intermittent PTH but not C increased BMD in uremic rats (Delta total BMD 134 + 13.3 vs. 76.3 +/- 11.5 mg/mL; P < 0.05). X-rays revealed increased bone mass following treatment with PTH but not with C. Uremia decreased bone calcium content (64 +/- 0.3 vs. 73. 3 +/- 2.5 mg/mL), which was normalized by PTH (80 +/- 3.6 mg/mL, P < 0.05) but not by C (69 +/- 1.9 mg/mL).

Conclusion: Pulsatile administration of PTH does not adversely affect, but improves longitudinal growth independent of concomitant treatment with C. At the same time PTH increases BMD and the calcium content of bone.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Calcitriol / pharmacology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Parathyroid Hormone / administration & dosage*
  • Parathyroid Hormone / pharmacology
  • Peptide Fragments / administration & dosage*
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology
  • Radiography
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reference Values
  • Uremia / diagnostic imaging
  • Uremia / metabolism
  • Uremia / physiopathology*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Peptide Fragments
  • parathyroid hormone (1-37)
  • Calcitriol
  • Calcium