Background: Accurate measurements of the concentration of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in serum or plasma are essential for the proper assessment of renal osteodystrophy. The first-generation immunometric PTH assay (1st PTH-IMA) not only detects the intact hormone, but also additional PTH fragments truncated at the amino N-terminally truncated PTH-derived fragments [ntPTH(1-84)]. A second-generation immunometric PTH assay (2nd PTH-IMA) recognizes only PTH(1-84) and possibly PTH fragments that are truncated at the carboxyl-terminus but not PTH(7-84). Whether estimates of the ratio between PTH(1-84) and ntPTH(1-84) fragments are a better predictor of bone turnover remains controversial.
Methods: Thirty-three patients aged 12.8 +/- 4.4 years treated with continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD) for 13 +/- 9 months underwent iliac crest bone biopsy. PTH levels were measured by two newly developed first-generation and second-generation PTH-IMA. The ntPTH(1-84) fragments were calculated by subtracting PTH values determined using the 2nd PTH-IMA from values obtained using 1st PTH-IMA that detects both PTH(1-84) and relatively large ntPTH(1-84).
Results: Determinations of PTH levels by both assays were highly correlated (r = 0.89, P < 0.001). The relationships between first-generation and second-generation PTH-IMA and bone formation were similar (r = 0.67, P < 0.0001 and r = 0.64, P < 0.0001, respectively). When patients were grouped according to the presence or absence of secondary hyperparathyroidism, the ratio PTH(1-84) to ntPTH(1-84) did not differ between groups.
Conclusion: PTH concentrations determined by either the first- or the second-generation PTH-IMA were found to be better predictors of bone formation than the PTH(1-84) to ntPTH(1-84) fragments ratio.