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Article
September 1985

Postnatal Changes in Calcium-Regulating Hormones in Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants: Effect of Early Neonatal Hypocalcemia and Intravenous Calcium Infusion on Serum Parathyroid Hormone and Calcitonin Homeostasis

Author Affiliations

From the Neonatal Section, Department of Pediatrics (Drs Venkataraman and Rao), and the Department of Pathology (Dr Blick and Mr Fry), University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(9):913-916. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140110067031
Abstract

• In very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants, we studied the hypotheses that in early neonatal hypocalcemia (1) the serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration would rise; (2) the serum calcitonin (CT) concentration would decline; and, in response to intravenous (IV) calcium (Ca) infusion, (3) the serum PTH concentration would be lowered; and (4) the serum CT concentration would rise. Fifteen infants appropriate for gestational age (age, less than 32 weeks; birth weight, less than 1,500 g) were enrolled in the study. In eight infants in whom the serum Ca level declined to less than 6.0 mg/dL, changes in serum magnesium, phosphorus, PTH, CT, and whole blood ionized calcium (iCa) were evaluated on entry into the study, when serum Ca declined to less than 6.0 mg/dL, immediately after infusion of 18 mg/kg of elemental calcium as calcium gluconate, and at eight hours post-Ca infusion (+8 hr). The serum Ca concentration declined from 7.9±0.6 baseline (mean±SE) to 5.2±0.2 mg/dL pre-Ca infusion and rose to 9.17±0.74 mg/dL post-Ca infusion and 7.1 ±0.5 mg/dL at +8 hr post-Ca infusion. Whole blood iCa declined from 4.82±0.24 to 3.72±0.19 mg/dL pre-Ca infusion, rose to 6.68±0.32 mg/dL post-Ca infusion, and was 4.12±0.21 mg/dL at +8 hr post-Ca infusion. The serum P concentration did not change significantly. The serum PTH concentration rose from 116 ±17 to 204±34 pmole/L pre-Ca infusion, declined to 149±22 pmole/L post-Ca infusion, and was 187±28 pmole/L at + 8 hr post-Ca infusion. The serum CT concentration was elevated and did not change significantly. Thus, in infants less than 32 weeks' gestation, the serum PTH level rises in early neonatal hypocalcemia and is suppressed by IV Ca infusion; the serum CT level is markedly elevated and is not altered in early neonatal hypocalcemia and does not rise further in response to IV Ca infusion in VLBW infants. We suggest that hypercalcitoninemia occurs in VLBW infants and that serum CT concentrations are unresponsive to changes in serum Ca.

(AJDC 1985;139:913-916)

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