Calcitonin is a polypeptide hormone that is produced by the C-cells of the thyroid gland and it acts to reduce blood calcium and phosphate levels, opposing the effects of Parathyroid Hormone (PTH).
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Calcitonin is a 32 amino acid peptide cleaved from a larger prohormone. It plays a role in regulating serum calcium levels by decreasing its serum concentration in one of two ways: (1) by inhibiting the activity of osteoclasts in bone tissue, preventing them from resorbing bone or (2) inhibiting the reabsorption of calcium by the cells of the kidney, resulting in increased calcium excretion in the urine.
Calcium is an essential structural component of the skeleton and plays a key role in muscle contraction, blood coagulation, enzyme activity, neural excitability, secondary messengers, hormone release, and membrane permeability. Three major hormones (PTH, vitamin D, and calcitonin) interact to maintain a constant concentration of calcium in the body.
A large number of diseases are associated with abnormally increased or decreased levels of calcitonin including medullary thyroid carcinoma, lung cancer and certain tumors of the pancreas, namely insulinoma (an insulin-secreting tumor) and VIPoma (a vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-secreting tumor).
Calcitonin is measured by quantitative sandwich immunoassays using antibodies that recognize the intact and mature form of calcitonin. High levels of calcitonin identify patients with nodular thyroid diseases and diagnose medullary thyroid cancers which originate from the C-cells of the thyroid gland.
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