Calcium sensing by the mammary gland

J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2005 Apr;10(2):129-39. doi: 10.1007/s10911-005-5396-y.


Calcium is an important nutrient that is secreted into milk in quantities that put a considerable stress upon maternal calcium homeostasis. Here we summarize the evidence that two important entities, the extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CaR) and parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) are involved in a feedback loop that regulates calcium fluxes to the mammary gland. The CaR may also play a role in regulating milk secretion, and may regulate the proliferation of normal and neoplastic mammary epithelial cells. Finally, the relationship between the CaR and PTHrP in breast cancer cells may promote the formation of osteolytic bone metastases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Breast / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / metabolism
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / agonists
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / physiology*


  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Calcium