Pregnancy and lactation increase vitamin D-dependent intestinal membrane calcium adenosine triphosphatase and calcium binding protein messenger ribonucleic acid expression

Endocrinology. 1998 Aug;139(8):3520-4. doi: 10.1210/endo.139.8.6141.


The calcium demands of pregnancy and lactation are known to up-regulate intestinal calcium absorption. Intestinal epithelial cells contain calcium ATPases and calcium binding proteins, which are believed to play important roles in intestinal calcium transport. However, the possible role of these two proteins in the up-regulation of intestinal calcium absorption observed in pregnancy and lactation is unknown. In this study, intestinal calcium ATPase (PMCA1), calcium binding protein (9K) (CaBP-9K), and vitamin D receptor (VDR) messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were determined by Northern analysis at different stages of pregnancy and early lactation in rats. Intestinal calcium ATPase and calcium binding protein mRNA levels did not differ significantly among nonpregnant rats and rats pregnant for 7 or 14 days. However, at 21 days gestation both calcium ATPase and calcium binding protein mRNA levels increased 2- to 3-fold. Calcium ATPase and calcium binding protein mRNA remained elevated at 7 days of lactation. Plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-D3) concentration exhibited a similar pattern, rising markedly at 21 days gestation and remaining elevated in lactation. VDR mRNA levels did not change during the entire experiment. However, intestinal VDR content increased 2-fold in late pregnancy and lactation. These data suggest that transcription of calcium absorption factors is increased in late gestation and early lactation, perhaps mediated by increased plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations, and that the effects of gestation and lactation on VDR concentrations are probably posttranscriptional.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Calcitriol / blood
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases / genetics*
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • Calcitriol