Objective—To characterize the dynamics of calcitonin secretion in response to experimentally induced hypercalcemia in cats.
Animals—13 healthy adult European Shorthair cats.
Procedures—For each cat, the calcitonin response to hypercalcemia (defined as an increase in ionized calcium concentration > 0.3mM) was investigated by infusing calcium chloride solution and measuring circulating calcitonin concentrations before infusion (baseline) and at various ionized calcium concentrations. Calcitonin expression in the thyroid glands of 10 of the cats was investigated by immunohistochemical analysis.
Results—Preinfusion baseline plasma calcitonin concentrations were very low in many cats, sometimes less than the limit of detection of the assay. Cats had a heterogeneous calcitonin response to hypercalcemia. Calcitonin concentrations only increased in response to hypercalcemia in 6 of 13 cats; in those cats, the increase in calcitonin concentration was quite variable. In cats that responded to hypercalcemia, calcitonin concentration increased from 1.3 ± 0.3 pg/mL at baseline ionized calcium concentration to a maximum of 21.2 ± 8.4 pg/mL at an ionized calcium concentration of 1.60mM. Cats that did not respond to hypercalcemia had a flat calcitonin-to-ionized calcium concentration curve that was not modified by changes in ionized calcium concentration. A significant strong correlation (r = 0.813) was found between the number of calcitonin-positive cells in the thyroid gland and plasma calcitonin concentrations during hypercalcemia.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Healthy cats had very low baseline plasma calcitonin concentrations. A heterogeneous increase in plasma calcitonin concentration in response to hypercalcemia, which correlated with the expression of calcitonin-producing cells in the thyroid, was identified in cats.