Parathyroid hormone: a double-edged sword for bone metabolism

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;15(2):60-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2004.01.006.


Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is the major hormone regulating calcium metabolism. It is also the only FDA-approved drug for osteoporosis treatment that stimulates bone formation when injected daily. However, continuous infusion of PTH causes severe bone loss in line with its known catabolic effects. Many studies to understand the dual effects of PTH have been carried out, and in recent years a growing number of molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these effects have emerged. Here, we outline the present knowledge and conclude that the kinetics of administration and subsequent signaling probably account for the divergent actions of the hormone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone Remodeling / drug effects
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Bone Resorption / drug therapy
  • Bone Resorption / physiopathology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteoblasts / physiology
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism*
  • Parathyroid Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Parathyroid Hormone / pharmacology*


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Calcium