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March 11, 1968


JAMA. 1968;203(11):976-977. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140110068016

"Calcitonin" or "thyrocalcitonin"? Both names are vying for acceptance. "Calcitonin" is the name given to the calcium-lowering hormone by Copp and his co-workers1 at the University of British Columbia when, in 1962, they postulated its existence on the basis of perfusion experiments on canine thyroid-parathyroid complexes. The Canadian investigators believed that this hormone was secreted by the parathyroid glands, but, avoiding commitment to an anatomic site, they chose a functional term. One year later Hirsch and his associates2 discovered a hypocalcemic, hypophosphatemic principle in thyroid tissue from which they were able to extract a potent biological preparation. For this they devised a simple bio-assay in which an injection of the test substance was given to rats, and the one-hour fall in plasma calcium levels was taken as the response. They named the substance "thyrocalcitonin," and, when it was subsequently demonstrated that thyrocalcitonin and calcitonin were in fact identical,