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BACKGROUND: The calcium-sensing receptor regulates the secretion of parathyroid hormone in response to changes in extracellular calcium concentrations, and mutations that result in a loss of function of the receptor are associated with familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia. Mutations involving a gain of function have been associated with hypocalcemia in two kindreds. We examined the possibility that the latter type of mutation may result in a phenotype of familial hypocalcemia with hypercalciuria. METHODS: We studied six kindreds given a diagnosis of autosomal dominant hypoparathyroidism on the basis of their hypocalcemia and normal serum parathyroid hormone concentrations, a combination that suggested a defect of the calcium-sensing receptor. The hypocalcemia was associated with hypercalciuria, and treatment with vitamin D resulted in increased hypercalciuria, nephrocalcinosis, and renal impairment. Mutations in the calcium-sensing-receptor gene were identified by DNA-sequence analysis and expressed in human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293). RESULTS: Five heterozygous missense mutations (Asn118Lys, Phe128Leu, Thr151Met, Glu191Lys, and Phe612Ser) were detected in the extracellular domain of the calcium-sensing-receptor gene and shown to cosegregate with the disease. Analysis of the functional expression of three of the mutant receptors in HEK-293 cells demonstrated shifts in the dose-response curves so that the extracellular calcium concentrations needed to produce half-maximal increases in total inositol phosphate in the cells were significantly (P=0.02 to P<0.001) lower than those required for the wild-type receptor. CONCLUSIONS: Gain-of-function mutations in the calcium-sensing receptor are associated with a familial syndrome of hypocalcemia with hypercalciuria that needs to be distinguished from hypoparathyroidism.

Original publication




Journal article


N Engl J Med

Publication Date





1115 - 1122


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Amino Acid Sequence, Base Sequence, Calcium, Child, Child, Preschool, Diagnosis, Differential, Female, Humans, Hypocalcemia, Hypoparathyroidism, Male, Middle Aged, Molecular Sequence Data, Parathyroid Hormone, Pedigree, Phenotype, Point Mutation, Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational, Receptors, Calcium-Sensing, Receptors, Cell Surface, Syndrome