Phosphate, Calcium, and Vitamin D: Key Regulators of Fetal and Placental Development in Mammals

Claire Stenhouse, Larry J. Suva, Dana Gaddy, Guoyao Wu, Fuller W. Bazer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Normal calcium and bone homeostasis in the adult is virtually fully explained by the interactions of several key regulatory hormones, including parathyroid hormone, 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D3, fibroblast growth factor-23, calcitonin, and sex steroids (estradiol and testosterone). In utero, bone and mineral metabolism is regulated differently from the adult. During development, it is the placenta and not the fetal kidneys, intestines, or skeleton that is the primary source of minerals for the fetus. The placenta is able to meet the almost inexhaustible needs of the fetus for minerals by actively driving the transport of calcium and phosphorus from the maternal circulation to the growing fetus. These fundamentally important minerals are maintained in the fetal circulation at higher concentrations than those in maternal blood. Maintenance of these inordinately higher fetal levels is necessary for the developing skeleton to accrue sufficient minerals by term. Importantly, in livestock species, prenatal mineralization of the skeleton is crucial for the high levels of offspring activity soon after birth. Calcium is required for mineralization, as well as a plethora of other physiological functions. Placental calcium and phosphate transport are regulated by several mechanisms that are discussed in this review. It is clear that phosphate and calcium metabolism is intimately interrelated and, therefore, placental transport of these minerals cannot be considered in isolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages31
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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