Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) and the Relationship Between PTH and Bone Health: Structure, Physiology, Actions, and Ethnicity

  • Erin Gaffney-StombergEmail author
  • Michael R. MacArthurEmail author
  • James P. McClungEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Biomarkers in Disease: Methods, Discoveries and Applications book series (BDMDA)


Parathyroid hormone (PTH) regulates calcium homeostasis by coordinating the hypercalcemic actions of the skeleton, intestine, and kidney. The actions of PTH on this organ axis serve to maintain circulating calcium concentrations in order to support critical functions such as nerve conduction and muscle contraction. At the level of bone tissue, PTH exhibits both anabolic and catabolic actions, making a single PTH result challenging to interpret. The anabolic or catabolic function of PTH on bone is determined by both the dose and periodicity of exposure. Therefore, the measurement of additional biomarkers to include vitamin D metabolites, markers of bone turnover and osteokines to include receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand, osteoprotegerin, and sclerostin, is critical when interpreting the effect of PTH on bone tissue. Additionally, race, sex, age, dietary, and lifestyle factors impact PTH concentrations and must be considered. This chapter will discuss the roles of PTH on each of its target organs, biomarkers of PTH action, regulators of PTH secretion, and interpretation of PTH results gleaned from bone studies.


Parathyroid hormone Bone Turnover Calcium Vitamin D RANKL OPG Sclerostin 

List of Abbreviations


1,25-Dihyrdoxyvitamin D3




Bone mineral content


Bone mineral density


Calcium-sensing receptor


Dickkopf 1


Fibroblast growth factor 23




LDL-receptor-related protein 5 or 6


Sodium-phosphate cotransporters a or c




Phospholipase/protein kinase C


Peripheral quantitative computed tomography


Parathyroid hormone


PTH receptor 1


Receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand


Single nucleotide polymorphism


Transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V 5 or 6


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Military Performance and Nutrition DivisionsUnited States Army Research Institute of Environmental MedicineNatickUSA

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