Parathyroid hormone-related peptide gene is expressed in the mammalian central nervous system
A parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHRP) has been identified in human tumors associated with the syndrome of humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy. While parathyroid hormone (PTH) gene expression appears to be limited to the parathyroid glands, PTHRP mRNA has been identified in a variety of normal tissues. To investigate the apparent expression of the PTHRP in the central nervous system, we examined extracts of whole rat brain for PTHRP bioactivity by measuring adenylate cyclase-stimulating activity (ACSA) in a PTH-sensitive assay. Extracts consistently contained ACSA and this activity was completely inhibited by a PTHRP antiserum but was unaffected by a PTH antiserum. ACSA was found in a number of anatomic subregions of rat brain, being greatest in the cortex and telencephalon. RNase protection analysis revealed PTHRP transcripts in total RNA prepared from whole rat brain and from the same anatomic subregions. By in situ hybridization histochemistry, we found that the highest levels of PTHRP gene expression occurred in neurons of the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellar cortex. These studies demonstrate that both PTHRP mRNA and biological activity are present in a number of regions of rat brain. The widespread expression of this peptide by multiple types of neurons suggests that the PTHRP may play a general role in neuronal physiology.