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January 1969

Thyrocalcitonin: Its Role in Calcium Homeostasis

Author Affiliations


From the departments of surgery (Dr. Aliapoulios) and medicine (Dr. Bernstein), Peter Bent Brigham Hospital; the Elliott P. Joslin Research Laboratory; (Dr. Balodimos); the Harvard Medical School; and the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.

Arch Intern Med. 1969;123(1):88-94. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300110090018

The discovery of a new hormone is indeed a rare and exciting occurrence. Most of the recent advances in the field of endocrinology have emanated from the chemical characterization and purification of known hormones.

The precise regulation of blood calcium under the principal control of parathyroid hormone acting on bone, intestine, and kidneys has been recognized and elucidated in the past 40 years. In 1961, this classic concept was challenged as a result of the demonstration of a second substance involved in calcium homeostasis. The historical development, present status, and possible clinical implications of this new hypocalcemic principle are the subject of this review.

The original evidence for a plasma calcium lowering hormone came from experiments on dogs by Copp and his colleagues.1-4 The thyroparathyroid apparatus was perfused with high, then low, calcium containing blood and the effluent blood returned to the systemic circulation. Hypercalcemic perfusion was found to