Parvalbumin: calcium and magnesium buffering in the distal nephron

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2012 Nov;27(11):3988-94. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfs457.


Parvalbumin (PV) is a classical member of the EF-hand protein superfamily that has been described as a Ca(2+) buffer and Ca(2+) transporter/shuttle protein and may also play an additional role in Mg(2+) handling. PV is exclusively expressed in the early part of the distal convoluted tubule in the human and mouse kidneys. Recent studies in Pvalb knockout mice revealed a role of PV in the distal handling of electrolytes: the lack of PV was associated with a mild salt-losing phenotype with secondary aldosteronism, salt craving and stronger bones compared with controls. A link between the Ca(2+)-buffering capacity of PV and the expression of the thiazide-sensitive Na(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter was established, which could be relevant to the regulation of sodium transport in the distal nephron. Variants in the PVALB gene that encodes PV have been described, but their relevance to kidney function has not been established. PV is also considered a reliable marker of chromophobe carcinoma and oncocytoma, two neoplasms deriving from the distal nephron. The putative role of PV in tumour genesis remains to be investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules, Distal / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Parvalbumins / genetics
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism*


  • Parvalbumins
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium