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Familial Hypocalciuric Hypercalcemia as an Atypical Form of Primary Hyperparathyroidism.

  • Marx, Stephen J1
  • 1 Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, Bethesda Md 20892.
Published Article
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Nov 08, 2017
DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3339
PMID: 29115694


Introduction Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (FHH) causes lifelong hypercalcemia with features that overlap with typical primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT). The incompleteness of this overlap has led to divergent nomenclatures for FHH. I compare two nomenclatures. One sets FHH as an entity distinct from PHPT. The other groups FHH with PHPT but conditions FHH as atypical PHPT. Methods I analyzed selected articles about calcium-sensing receptors, FHH, PHPT, CASR, GNA11, and AP2S1. Results FHH usually results from a heterozygous germline inactivating mutation of the CASR, and less frequently from mutation of GNA11 or AP2S1. The CASR encodes the calcium-sensing receptors. These are highly expressed on parathyroid cells, where they sense serum calcium concentration and regulate suppression of PTH secretion by serum calcium. Their mutated expression in the kidney in FHH causes increased renal tubular reabsorption of calcium (hypocalciuria). Many FHH features are shared with PHPT and thus support FHH as a form of PHPT. These include a driver mutation expressed mainly in the parathyroid cells. The mutation causes a parathyroid cell insensitivity to extracellular calcium in vivo and in vitro, a right-shift of the set-point for suppression of PTH secretion by calcium. Serum PTH is normal or mildly elevated; i.e. it is not appropriately suppressed by hypercalcemia. Total parathyroidectomy causes hypoparathyroidism and durable remission of hypercalcemia. Some other features are not shared with PHPT and could support FHH as a distinct entity. These include onset of hypercalcemia in the first week of life, frequent persistence of hypercalcemia after subtotal parathyroidectomy, and hypocalciuria. Discussion The features supporting FHH as a form of PHPT are stronger than those favoring FHH as a distinct entity. Classifying FHH as an atypical form of PHPT represents compact nomenclature and supports current concepts of pathophysiology of FHH and PHPT. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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