High phosphate level directly stimulates parathyroid hormone secretion and synthesis by human parathyroid tissue in vitro

J Am Soc Nephrol. 1998 Oct;9(10):1845-52. doi: 10.1681/ASN.V9101845.


Phosphate retention plays an important role in the pathogenesis of secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with renal failure. In in vitro studies, high extracellular phosphate levels directly stimulate PTH secretion in rat and bovine parathyroid tissue. The present study evaluates the effect of high phosphate levels on the secretion of PTH and the production of prepro PTH mRNA in human hyperplastic parathyroid glands. The study includes parathyroid glands obtained from patients with primary adenomas and from hemodialysis and kidney-transplant patients with diffuse and nodular secondary hyperplasia. The experiments were performed in vitro using small pieces of parathyroid tissue. The ability of high calcium levels to decrease PTH secretion was less in adenomas than in secondary hyperplasia; among the secondary hyperplasia, nodular was less responsive to an increase in calcium than diffuse hyperplasia. In diffuse hyperplasia, PTH secretion was increased in response to 3 and 4 mM phosphate compared with 2 mM phosphate, despite a high calcium concentration in the medium; prepro PTH mRNA levels increased after incubation in 4 mM phosphate. Similar results were obtained with nodular hyperplasia, except that the elevation of PTH secretion in response to 3 mM phosphate did not attain statistical significance. In adenomas, high calcium concentrations (1.5 mM) did not result in inhibition of PTH secretion, independent of the phosphate concentration, and the prepro PTH mRNA was not significantly increased by high phosphate levels. In conclusion, first, the PTH secretory response to an increase in calcium concentration is less in nodular than diffuse hyperplasia; second, high phosphate levels directly affect PTH secretion and gene expression in patients with advanced secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Culture Techniques
  • DNA / analysis
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / etiology
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Parathyroid Glands / metabolism*
  • Parathyroid Glands / pathology
  • Parathyroid Hormone / biosynthesis*
  • Parathyroid Hormone / metabolism
  • Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Phosphates
  • RNA, Messenger
  • DNA