Basal ganglia calcification in hypoparathyroidism and pseudohypoparathyroidism: local and systemic metabolic mechanisms

G. Zavatta, B. L. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Hypoparathyroidism and pseudohypoparathyroidism are rare disorders of mineral metabolism which may be associated with soft tissue calcification in the basal ganglia in the brain, and occasionally the skin and other tissues. The basal ganglia are the most common sites of calcification in the central nervous system in these disorders, and were first associated with this manifestation in a report from the Mayo Clinic in 1939. The reasons why the basal ganglia are a common site of soft tissue calcification in these rare disorders has been a matter of investigation for many years. Findings: Due to recent increased understanding of phosphate transport and new insights gained from mRNA expression in the basal ganglia, the pathophysiology of basal ganglia calcification (BGC) is now clearer. There is evidence that the absence of parathyroid hormone in hypoparathyroidism may play a direct role, but this is clearly not the case in pseudohypoparathyroidism, which is associated with increased parathyroid hormone levels. Maintaining the calcium/phosphorus ratio as close to normal as possible, and maintaining normal serum phosphate levels, may help mitigate the progression of BGC. There is no evidence of regression of BGC with conventional treatment, and long-term data with adjunctive or replacement therapy with parathyroid hormone or its analogues are not yet available. Purpose of the review: This review will focus on the pathophysiology of BGC in hypoparathyroidism and pseudohypoparathyroidism, and review the proposed pathophysiologic mechanisms, as well as the clinical implications of BGC on patient quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of endocrinological investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Basal ganglia
  • Brain
  • Calcification
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Phosphate
  • Pseudohypoparathyroidism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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