Studies were carried out to evaluate the changes in content of calcium and magnesium in brain during acute uremia in dogs. Ca content in gray and white matter of brain increased significantly after 3 days of acute uremia and this increment was prevented by thyroparathyroidectomy (TPTX). The administration of parathyroid extract (PTE) to normal dogs and TPTX uremic animals produced a significant rise in brain Ca. These changes were not related to alteration in the concentration of Ca in plasma or cerebrospinal fluid, to changes in calcium-phosphorus product, or to changes in blood pH. Furthermore, the infusion of large amounts of phosphate to vitamin D2-treated animals with suppressed parathyroid gland activity produced marked elevation in calcium-phosphorus product but no significant change in brain Ca. Also, uremia in vitamin D2-treated TPTX dogs failed to increase calcium content in brain despite marked elevation in calcium-phosphorus product. Hemodialysis significantly reduced Ca content of brain but the values were still significantly higher than normal. Mg content increased modestly only in the white matter of uremic dogs with intact parathyroid glands and in normal dogs and TPTX uremic dogs receiving PTE. The results indicate that (a) acute uremia of 3 days is associated with a marked rise of Ca content of brain and modest increment of Mg in certain parts of the brain, and (b) these alterations are not related to uremia, per se, but are dependent on the presence of excess parathyroid hormone. It is suggested that the neurological abnormalities noted in acute uremia may be related in part to the rise in the Ca content of brain.
A I Arieff, S G Massry