Evidence for a renal calcium leak in postmenopausal women

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1991 Feb;72(2):401-7. doi: 10.1210/jcem-72-2-401.


We have measured calcium, albumin, globulin, bicarbonate, and anion gap in the plasma; and calcium, sodium, and creatinine in the urine, in 115 premenopausal and 140 postmenopausal normal women after an overnight fast, and calculated the calcium fractions in the plasma and the calcium/and sodium/creatinine ratios in the urine. The total ultrafiltrable calcium was significantly higher in the postmenopausal group, mainly due to their higher complexed calcium fraction, due in turn to their higher bicarbonate and anion gap concentrations. Urinary calcium was also significantly higher in the postmenopausal group even after correcting for sodium. After matching for total calcium and each of the calcium fractions in turn, the urinary calcium remained significantly higher in the post- than in the premenopausal sets even after correction for sodium. The implication is that the rise in urinary calcium at the menopause is due to reduced tubular reabsorption of calcium rather than to an increase in filtered load. We suggest that estrogens promote tubular reabsorption of calcium and that the rise in bone resorption at the menopause could be accounted for, at least in part, by the effect of estrogen deficiency on the kidney.

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bicarbonates / blood
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / urine*
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Menopause / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Serum Globulins / metabolism
  • Sodium / urine


  • Bicarbonates
  • Serum Albumin
  • Serum Globulins
  • Sodium
  • Creatinine
  • Calcium