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Journal of Osteoporosis
Volume 2012, Article ID 523246, 5 pages
Review Article

PTH Assays: Understanding What We Have and Forecasting What We Will Have

Division of Endocrinology, Escola Paulista de Medicina, UNIFESP, 20266 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 22 November 2011; Accepted 6 February 2012

Academic Editor: Roman Lorenc

Copyright © 2012 Jose Gilberto H. Vieira. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parathyroid hormone (PTH) assays have evolved continuously for the last 50 years. Since the first radioimmunoassay was described in 1963, several assays based on immunological identification have been published (first generation assays). The routine assays used nowadays are immunometric “sandwich-type”. They are based on two different monoclonal antibodies, one amino-terminal and the other carboxyl terminal specific. These second generation assays are widely available and adapted to most of the automation platforms. The specificity of the amino terminal antibody defines if the immunometric assay measures only the bioactive PTH circulating form (including the first amino terminal amino acids) or the “intact” PTH, which includes, besides bioactive PTH, other “long” carboxyl-terminal forms, for example, 7–84-PTH. Assays for “intact” PTH are the most commonly available and the potential advantage of the bioactive PTH assays is still debatable. Next generation of assays will be based on different principles, mainly mass spectrometry in samples submitted to a prior purification and fragmentation steps. These assays will provide information about the whole spectra of PTH peptides in circulation, with a significant increase of the information regarding this biologically important peptide hormone.