Chronic cimetidine therapy has been shown to suppress circulating concentrations of immunoreactive parathyroid hormone (iPTH) in hemodialysis patients. To evaluate the long-term metabolic effects of cimetidine treatment, we studied seven chronically uremic dogs for 20 wk. The dogs were studied under metabolic conditions before, during, and after cimetidine therapy. iPTH fell progressively in the five treated dogs from 536±70 μleq/ml (mean±SE) (nl < 100 μleq/ml) before treatment to 291±25 μleq/ml at 12 wk (P < 0.001) and 157±32 μleq/ml at 20 wk (P < 0.001). The control dogs showed no consistent change in iPTH. The fall in iPTH was not associated with a change in serum ionized calcium. However, serum phosphorus decreased from 5.7±0.9 mg/dl to 3.4±0.2 mg/dl by the 20th wk (P < 0.05). By contrast, the serum concentration of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol increased in all treated dogs from 33.4±4.3 pg/ml to 51.8±2.4 pg/ml during treatment (P < 0.01). Calcium balance was negative in all seven dogs before cimetidine (−347±84 mg/72 h) and remained so in the control dogs; it became positive in the five treated dogs after 12 wk (1,141±409 mg/72 h) (P < 0.05). Phosphorus balance, 24-h fractional phosphate excretion, and creatinine clearance remained unchanged. Pooled samples of serum obtained during the control and 20th wk of therapy were fractionated by gel filtration and the eluates assayed for immunoreactivity. The decrease in iPTH was associated with a decrease in all the immunoreactive species, indicating suppression of parathyroid gland secretion.
These observations indicate that cimetidine suppressed circulating concentration of biologically active parathyroid hormone. A probable net decrease in the loss of phosphorus from bone to blood ensued, resulting in a fall in serum phosphorus. This may have stimulated synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol and led to a positive calcium balance, thereby maintaining the serum ionized calcium concentration. The maintenance of phosphate balance, despite suppression of iPTH by cimetidine, indicates that factors other than hyperparathyroidism relate to phosphate homeostasis in chronically uremic dogs.