High parathyroid hormone concentration in tenofovir-treated patients are due to inhibition of calcium-sensing receptor activity

Biomed Pharmacother. 2018 Jan:97:969-974. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.11.037. Epub 2017 Nov 7.


Bone health impairment is a common finding in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral treatment. High serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration in patients on antiretroviral treatment containing tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) has been reported. Hyperparathyroidism was not always sustained by a reduction in vitamin D concentration. We thus hypothesized a direct inhibitory effect of TDF on the Calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR), leading to hyperparathyroidism. Human embryonic kidney cells were transfected with CASR wild-type gene or mutated in different sites (N124K, T1051G, C788T, T888M). Cells were grown in standard conditions and the activity of CaSR was assessed after stimulation with CaCl2 with and without TDF (100 nM-1 μM). We evaluated by western blot phospho-p44/42 ERK expression levels as a marker of CaSR activity. In silico structure models were obtained for wild-type and N124K mutant. Molecular docking with TDF was also evaluated. The stimulation by CaCl2 and TDF 100 nM led to a decrease of 55% of CaSR activity (P < 0.001), whereas the stimulation by CaCl2 and TDF 1 μM reduced the activity by 68% (P < 0.001). The decreased CaSR activity was comparable to that observed from known CASR gene inactivating mutations (T1051G, C788T), which inhibit the receptor activity by 56% and 78%, respectively. The TDF inhibits the CaSR activity carrying a gain of function mutation in the intracellular domain (T888M), but it does not influence the activity of the receptor carrying the N124K activating mutation. Our data show that TDF is able to inhibit the activity of CaSR in a dose-dependent manner. Hyperparathyroidism observed in TDF-treated patients may be therefore promoted by the direct effect of the drug on CaSR.

Keywords: Antiretroviral therapy; Calcium-sensing receptor; Hyperparathyroidism; Parathyroid hormone; Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-HIV Agents / toxicity
  • Blotting, Western
  • Computer Simulation
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / chemically induced*
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Mutation
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood*
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / genetics
  • Tenofovir / administration & dosage
  • Tenofovir / toxicity*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • CASR protein, human
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Tenofovir