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H Yamashita, P Gao, T Cantor, T Futata, T Murakami, S Uchino, S Watanabe, H Kawamoto, M Fukagawa and S Noguchi

OBJECTIVE: It was discovered that an immunoreactive large carboxy-terminal parathyroid hormone (PTH) fragment (large C-PTH), likely 7-84 PTH, is present in the circulation. However, very little is known about the production and metabolism of this large C-PTH. Combining a whole molecule PTH (whole PTH) immunoradiometric assay (IRMA) specifically for 1-84 PTH and an intact PTH (iPTH) IRMA for the sum of 1-84 PTH and large C-PTH, we were able to assess the circulating level of this large C-PTH as well as the glandular secretion and metabolism of this large C-PTH in primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT). METHODS: This study consisted of two patient groups consisting of 77 pHPT patients with a single adenoma. Of these, 43 comprised the venous sampling study group and 70 comprised the intra-operative PTH study group. (Seven patients belonged only to the former group, 34 patients to only the latter group, and 36 patients to both groups.) Preoperatively, blood samples were drawn from the bilateral internal jugular vein by ultrasonographic guidance and from the peripheral vein (n=43). During surgery, blood samples were drawn after anesthesia (basal level), before excision (pre-excision level) of one enlarged parathyroid gland, and at 5, 10, and 15 min post-excision (n=70). RESULTS: There were 26 patients whose iPTH assay levels differed by more than 10% between the right and left internal jugular. In 24 of the 26 patients, the large C-PTH levels obtained from the adenoma side were significantly higher than those from the contralateral side (117+/-135 vs 43+/-33 pg/ml, P<0.001). The plasma whole PTH values decreased more rapidly than the iPTH values after parathyroidectomy (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Our study has demonstrated that the large C-PTH, likely 7-84 PTH, is directly released from the parathyroid gland in humans. Since the half-life of 1-84 PTH is much shorter than large C-PTH, likely 7-84 PTH, it would be advantageous to use an assay that specifically measures 1-84 PTH for intra-operative monitoring of parathyroidectomy.

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H Yamashita, S Noguchi, S Uchino, S Watanabe, T Murakami, T Ogawa, T Masatsugu, Y Takamatsu, E Miyatake and H Yamashita

OBJECTIVE: Disturbed renal function may play an important role in the clinico-pathological presentation of primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT). We studied the influence of renal function on the clinico-pathological characteristics of 141 patients (123 women and 18 men) with surgically proven pHPT. METHODS: The 141 patients were assigned to one of two groups based on creatinine clearance (C(cr)) level: a renal insufficiency group (n=37) in which C(cr) of patients was <70 ml/min and a normal renal function group (n=104) in which C(cr) was > or =70 ml/min. Clinical presentation and biochemical indices were evaluated and compared between the two groups. RESULTS: Age, and frequency of hypertension and of diabetes mellitus were significantly (P<0.001, P<0.05 and P<0.05 respectively) higher in the renal insufficiency group than in the normal renal function group. Serum levels of calcium, intact parathyroid hormone and bone Gla protein were significantly (P<0.05) higher and the excised parathyroid weighed significantly more (P<0.05) in the renal insufficiency group than in the normal renal function group; however, serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)(2)D) and 24 h urinary calcium excretion were significantly (P<0.001 and P<0.05 respectively) lower in the former than in the latter group. There was a significant inverse correlation between C(cr) level and serum calcium (r=0.315, P<0.001) and a significant positive correlation between C(cr) level, 1,25(OH)(2)D (r=0.315, P<0.001), and 24 h calcium excretion (r=0.458, P<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Clinico-pathological features of pHPT were notably influenced by even moderate renal insufficiency. Urinary calcium excretion decreased according to the decrease in glomerular filtration rate. Therefore, endocrinologists need to appraise urinary calcium excretion and renal function of pHPT patients when considering surgery or in discriminating familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia.

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H Yamashita, T Yamashita, M Miyamoto, T Shigematsu, JJ Kazama, T Shimada, Y Yamazaki, S Fukumoto, M Fukagaw and S Noguchi

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to determine the serum level of fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) to understand its physiological role in the disorder. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ninety-eight patients with pHPT who underwent parathyroidectomy formed the study group. We also measured serum FGF-23 in 11 of these patients on postoperative day 6. RESULTS: Serum FGF-23 levels was significantly higher in pHPT patients than in healthy controls (35.6+/-17.8 ng/l vs 28.9+/-11.2 ng/l (mean+/-s.d.); P<0.001 (Pearson's correlation coefficient)), but there was no significant difference in the serum FGF-23 level between pHPT patients with normal renal function (creatinine clearance (Ccr) of >or=70 ml/min) and healthy controls. Serum FGF-23 correlated positively with serum calcium (P<0.0001) and intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) (P<0.01), and negatively with Ccr (P<0.001), serum phosphate (P<0.05), and serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)(2)D) (P<0.05). Multiple linear regression analysis of factors potentially determining serum FGF-23 levels in pHPT patients showed serum calcium (P<0.01) and Ccr (P<0.001) to be significant predictors. The serum levels of FGF-23 did not change after parathyroidectomy despite the normalization of serum calcium values. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that serum FGF-23 was not a significant predictor of serum phosphate or 1,25(OH)(2)D in pHPT patients. CONCLUSIONS: FGF-23 may not play a significant role in regulating phosphate or 1,25(OH)(2)D in pHPT patients, especially in those with normal renal function. Further studies are warranted to determine the role of FGF-23 in renal insufficiency or failure.

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V Vanvooren, S Uchino, L Duprez, MJ Costa, J Vandekerckhove, J Parma, G Vassart, JE Dumont, J Van Sande and S Noguchi

OBJECTIVE: Constitutively activating mutations of the thyrotropin receptor (TSHR) have been found in the majority of autonomously functioning thyroid nodules (AFTNs) in European patients. The reported frequency of these mutations varies among reports but amounts to 50-80%. To date, only one such mutation responsible for AFTNs has been identified in the Japanese population and the pathogenic role of such mutations in Japanese AFTNs has been questioned. In the present study, we evaluated the frequency of activating mutations in the TSHR and G(alpha)s in 10 Japanese AFTNs. DESIGN: Genomic DNA was extracted from fresh frozen tissue. The TSHR and the almost entire sequence of the gene coding for the alpha subunit of Gs have been amplified and sequenced. RESULTS: In sequence analysis, four mutations in the TSHR (T632A, I486M, M453T and L512R) were found. To complete our analysis, we searched mutations in the gene coding for the alpha subunit of Gs, in the samples negative for TSHR mutations. In one case a mutation (R201H) affecting GTPase activity was found. CONCLUSIONS: If we focus on the solitary nodules, we obtain the same mutation proportion as in European patients (70%). The absence of TSHR and G(alpha)s mutations in a significant proportion of autonomous adenomas in multinodular goiters suggests that other causes may also play a role in the genesis of these lesions.