Causes and pathophysiology of hypoparathyroidism

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Dec;32(6):909-925. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2018.07.001. Epub 2018 Jul 29.


Hypoparathyroidism, a disorder characterized by hypocalcemia ensuing from inadequate parathyroid hormone secretion, is a rather rare disorder caused by multiple etiologies. When not caused by inadvertent damage or removal of the parathyroids during neck surgery, it is usually genetically determined. Epidemiological figures of this disease are still scarce and mainly limited to countries where non-anonymous databases are available and to surgical case series. Both the surgical and non-surgical forms pose diagnostic challenges. For surgical hypoparathyroidism, transient forms have to be ruled out even in the long term, in order to avoid unnecessary chronic replacement therapy with calcium and calcitriol. Regarding non-surgical hypoparathyroidism, once referred to as idiopathic, a systematic clinically and genetically-driven approach to define the precise diagnosis have to be pursued. In the case of syndromic hypoparathyroidism, patients have to be screened for associated abnormalities. Autoimmune, non-genetic hypoparathyroidism is still a diagnosis of exclusion, since no specific autoantibodies are specific for this condition.

Keywords: autoimmune hypoparathyroidism; autosomal dominant hypocalcemia; chronic hypoparathyroidism; isolated hypoparathyroidism; post-surgical hypoparathyroidism; syndromic hypoparathyroidism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / adverse effects
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Calcitriol / administration & dosage
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Hypocalcemia / diagnosis
  • Hypocalcemia / etiology
  • Hypoparathyroidism / diagnosis
  • Hypoparathyroidism / drug therapy
  • Hypoparathyroidism / etiology*
  • Parathyroid Glands / immunology
  • Parathyroid Glands / physiology
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Parathyroid Hormone / deficiency


  • Autoantibodies
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Calcitriol
  • Calcium