The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) plays a pivotal role in systemic calcium metabolism by regulating parathyroid hormone secretion and urinary calcium excretion. The diseases caused by an abnormality of the CaSR are genetically determined or are more rarely acquired. The genetic diseases consist of hyper- or hypocalcemia disorders. Hypercalcaemia disorders are related to inactivating mutations of the CASR gene either heterozygous (autosomal dominant familial benign hypercalcaemia, still named hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia syndrome type 1) or homozygous (severe neonatal hyperparathyroidism). The A986S, R990G and Q1011E variants of the CASR gene are associated with higher serum calcium levels than in the general population, hypercalciuria being also associated with the R990G variant. The differential diagnosis consists in the hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia syndrome, types 2 (involving GNA11 gene) and 3 (involving AP2S1 gene); hyperparathyroidism; abnormalities of vitamin D metabolism, involving CYP24A1 and SLC34A1 genes; and reduced GFR. Hypocalcemia disorders, which are more rare, are related to heterozygous activating mutations of the CASR gene (type 1), consisting of autosomal dominant hypocalcemia disorders, sometimes with a presentation of pseudo-Bartter's syndrome. The differential diagnosis consists of the hypercalciuric hypocalcaemia syndrome type 2, involving GNA11 gene and other hypoparathyroidism aetiologies. The acquired diseases are related to the presence of anti-CaSR antibodies, which can cause hyper- or especially hypocalcemia disorders (for instance in APECED syndromes), determined by their functionality. Finally, the role of CaSR in digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and neoplastic diseases is gradually coming to light, providing new therapeutic possibilities. Two types of CaSR modulators are known: CaSR agonists (or activators, still named calcimimetics) and calcilytic antagonists (or inhibitors of the CasR). CaSR agonists, such as cinacalcet, are indicated in secondary and primary hyperparathyroidism. Calcilytics have no efficacy in osteoporosis, but could be useful in the treatment of hypercalciuric hypocalcaemia syndromes.
Keywords: CASR; Calcilytics; Calcimimetics; Hypercalcaemia; Hypercalciuria; Hyperparathyroidism; Hypocalcemia; Hypocalciuria; Hypoparathyroidism.