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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lithium stimulates the release of human parathyroid hormone in vitro.

The effect of lithium on PTH release from human parathyroid tissue was studied using a perifusion system and an immunoradiometric assay for intact human PTH. Tissue was obtained from three patients undergoing surgery for thyroid disease, three patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism due to chronic renal insufficiency, and four patients with primary hyperparathyroidism due to a parathyroid adenoma. Addition of lithium in concentrations equivalent to the therapeutic serum levels normally attained in man (1.3 mmol/L) resulted in a significant (P less than 0.05) increase in PTH release under normocalcemic (1.15 mmol/L) conditions from normal and hyperplastic tissues. The magnitude of the lithium-induced response of PTH release ranged from a 1.4- to 5.3-fold increase above basal levels (perifusion with 1.15 mmol/L calcium alone) and was comparable to the response during a low calcium (0.42 mmol/L) perifusion. Although the response to lithium was delayed compared to that of hypocalcemia, PTH returned to basal levels immediately after removal of either stimulator. In contrast, parathyroid adenomas did not respond to either lithium or hypocalcemia in a characteristic manner, but, rather, functioned in an autonomous fashion with repeated pulsatile bursts of PTH release that were not suppressible even under hypercalcemic (1.70 mmol/L) conditions. These in vitro studies suggest that lithium therapy may elevate serum PTH levels in some patients and could, thus, be responsible for hypercalcemia in them.[1]


  1. Lithium stimulates the release of human parathyroid hormone in vitro. Birnbaum, J., Klandorf, H., Giuliano, A., Van Herle, A. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (1988) [Pubmed]
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