Parathyroid hormone (PTH) has a central role in the regulation of serum calcium and phosphate, while parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP) has important developmental roles. Both peptides signal through the same receptor, the PTH/PTHrP receptor (a class B G-protein-coupled receptor). The different biological effects of these ligands result from their modes of regulation and secretion, endocrine vs. paracrine/autocrine. The importance of PTH and PTHrP is evident by the variety of clinical syndromes caused by deficiency or excess production of either peptide, and the demonstration that intermittent injection of PTH increases bone mass, and thus provides a means to treat osteoporosis. This, in turn, has triggered increased interest in understanding the mechanisms of PTH/PTHrP receptor action and the search for smaller peptide or non-peptide agonists that have efficacy at this receptor when administered non-parenterally.