Autotransplantation of avian parathyroid glands: An animal model for studying parathyroid function


The parathyroid glands of chickens were autotransplanted and the return of parathyroid function following transplantation was determined. Parathyroidectomy (PTX) resulted in a marked hypocalcemia (5.2 ± 0.2 mg/dl) 4 hr following PTX. Plasma calcium (PCa) had declined to 4.3 ± 0.2 mg/dl 24 hr after PTX. Parathyroid glands were transplanted subcutaneously 24 hr after removal and 24 hr later, PCa had risen to 8.6 ± 0.5 mg/dl. Seven days after PTX, PCa increased to 10.3 ± 0.2 mg/dl and by 14 days was indistinguishable from control levels (10.8 ± 0.2 mg/dl vs. 11.0 ± 0.2 mg/dl, respectively). When chicks with transplanted glands were fed a low Ca (0.08%) diet for 2 weeks they were able to maintain plasma PCa at levels comparable to control birds. Removal of the transplanted glands resulted in marked decreases in PCa (from 9.7 ± 0.3 to 5.6 ± 0.8 mg/dl), in the fractional excretion of phosphate, in urine cAMP, and in renal 25OH-vitamin D3-1α-hydroxylase activity. Stepwise reductions in PCa and 1α-hydroxylase activity were produced in partially PTX and fully PTX chicks by removing part or all of the parathyroid tissue. These data suggest that the transplanted parathyroid tissue was the major source of circulating PTH and that it may be possible to produce different degrees of acute hypoparathyroidism by varying the amount of transplanted parathyroid tissue removed surgically. Chickens with transplanted parathyroid glands thus provide a convenient animal model in which to study parathyroid function in an avian species. © 1989.

Publication Title

General and Comparative Endocrinology