The calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) is a plasma membrane G protein coupled receptor that is expressed in the parathyroid hormone (PTH) producing chief cells of the parathyroid gland and the cells lining the kidney tubule. By virtue of its ability to sense small changes in circulating calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](o)) and to couple this information to intracellular signaling pathways that modify PTH secretion or renal cation handling, the CASR plays an essential role in maintaining mineral ion homeostasis. Inherited abnormalities of the CASR gene located on chromosome 3p13.3-21 can cause either hypercalcemia or hypocalcemia depending upon whether they are inactivating or activating, respectively. Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations give rise to familial (benign) hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (FHH) in which the lifelong hypercalcemia is asymptomatic. The homozygous condition manifests itself as neonatal severe hyperparathyroidism (NSHPT), a rare disorder characterized by extreme hypercalcemia and the bony changes of hyperparathyroidism which occur in infancy. The disorder autosomal dominant hypocalcemia (ADH) is due to gain-of-function mutations in the CASR gene. ADH may be asymptomatic or present with neonatal or childhood seizures. A common polymorphism in the intracellular tail of the CASR, Ala to Ser at position 986, has a modest effect on the serum calcium concentration in healthy individuals.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.