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

Hypophosphatemia and the development of rickets in osteopetrotic (op/op) mice.

Our previous work has shown that op/op mice hyperabsorb dietary calcium in the vitamin D-deficient state and shunt that calcium into bone. Under these conditions, the op/op mice are hypocalcemic. The purpose of this study was to examine calcium metabolism and bone mineralization in vitamin D-deficient op/op mice. First, the op/op mice and their normal littermates were placed on a vitamin D-deficient, low phosphorus diet to limit bone mineralization. Under these circumstances, op/op mice survived, even when calcium was also removed from the diet. If the diet contained phosphate, op/op mice died from hypocalcemic tetany when calcium was also removed from the diet. Furthermore, serum calcium levels became similar to wild type in the op/op mice administered the vitamin D-deficient, low phosphorus diet, and op/op mice were able to increase serum calcium in response to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. The op/op mice developed rickets when their serum phosphorus level was too low to support bone mineralization. The op/op mice became hypophosphatemic on regimens in which normal mice were able to maintain normal serum phosphorus levels. It appears that the op/op mouse simply requires a higher dietary calcium and phosphorus level to prevent rickets and hypocalcemic tetany since the bone is not available as a source of these minerals. However, the ability of the op/op mouse to mineralize bone at low serum calcium and phosphorus levels remains unexplained.[1]


  1. Hypophosphatemia and the development of rickets in osteopetrotic (op/op) mice. McCary, L.C., Smith, C.M., DeLuca, H.F. J. Bone Miner. Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
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