Problems with the PTH assays

Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2015 May;76(2):128-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ando.2015.03.018. Epub 2015 Apr 25.


Even if the first assay for parathyroid hormone (PTH) was published in the early 1960s, its determination remains a challenge even today. Indeed, in the circulation, PTH is present in its active form (PTH 1-84), but many PTH fragments can also be present. These fragments accumulate when renal function declines and are recognized, at different extents, by the 2nd generation ("intact") PTH assays that are widely used in the clinical laboratories. Some assays, called "3rd generation PTH" do not recognize these fragments, but are not available everywhere. Hence, different problems are also linked with PTH determination. Among them, one can cite the lack of a reference method, the lack of standardization of the assays and, sometimes, the lack of consistent reference range. We can also point out stability problems and a large intra-individual variation. A workgroup is working on these problems under the auspices of the IFCC and we hope that some of these problems will be resolved in the next years. In this article, we will discuss all the possible issues of PTH determination.

Keywords: Dosage de l’hormone parathyroïdienne; Fragments de PTH; PTH assays; PTH fragments; Parathyroid hormone measurement; Trousses de PTH.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Parathyroid Hormone / analysis*
  • Peptide Fragments / analysis
  • Reference Standards
  • Reference Values
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Peptide Fragments