Normal pregnancy is associated with an increase in serum parathyroid hormone and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol). The effect of pregnancy on these hormones in chronic renal failure (CRF) is unknown. The present work was undertaken to study the changes of serum immunoreactive parathyroid hormone (iPTH) and calcitriol in pregnant rats with CRF. The following experimental groups were studied: CRF1 (5/6 nephrectomized virgin female rats), CRF2 (5/6 nephrectomized pregnant rats at day 20–21 of pregnancy), CRF3 (5/6 nephrectomized rats 2 weeks after delivery) and their respective sham-operated control groups: N1, N2 and N3. The 5/6 nephrectomy (CRF1) resulted in renal failure with very high serum iPTH (100±18 pg/ml) and low calcitriol levels (10.6±4.3 pg/ml) compared with normal rats [N1: 14±2.5 pg/ml (P< 0.001) and 18.2±4.2 pg/ml (P< 0.01) respectively]. The pregnancy in CRF rats (CRF2) resulted in normalization of serum iPTH levels (18.2±5.41 pg/ml), which was associated with a parallel increase in serum calcitriol (29.4±8.0 pg/ml) similar to that in pregnancy of normal rats (N2). Two weeks after delivery the CRF rats (CRF3) once again had high serum iPTH (87±17 pg/ml) and low calcitriol levels (9.3±1.2 pg/ml), similar to those observed in non-pregnant uraemic rats (CRF1). It is concluded that pregnancy decreases serum iPTH in 5/6 nephrectomized CRF rats most probably by the increased level of calcitriol synthesized by the feto-placental unit.

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