Cardiovascular cells (cardiomyocytes and smooth muscle cells) are target cells for parathyroid hormone (PTH) and the structurally related peptide parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTH-rP). PTH activates protein kinase C (PKC) of cardiomyocytes via a PKC activating domain previously identified on chondrocytes. Activation of PKC leads to hypertrophic growth and re-expression of fetal type proteins in cardiomyocytes. This hypertrophic effect of PTH might contribute to left ventricular hypertrophy in hemodialysis patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism. PTH-rP is expressed in cardiovascular cells (endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells). It does not mimic the above described actions of PTH but exerts effects of its own on cardiomyocytes. These effects involve activation of protein kinase A, via a N-terminal domain distinct from that identified on PTH, and activation of PKC, via a C-terminally located domain distinct from that found on PTH. On smooth muscle cells PTH and PTH-rP reduce the influence of extracellular calcium, through cAMP-dependent mechanisms. These inhibitory effects on voltage-dependent L-type calcium channels of smooth muscle cells cause vasorelaxation. Present studies concerning cardiovascular actions of either PTH and PTH-rP suggest that increased plasma levels of PTH and PTH-rP influence cardiomyocyte and smooth muscle cell physiology. It can be assumed that PTH-rP acts as a paracrine or autocrine modulator in heart and vessels.