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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Parathyroid Hormone, Calcitonin, Calcium and Phosphate Metabolism, Vitamin D, Bone, and Teeth

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Calcium Exchange Between Bone and Extracellular Fluid

If soluble calcium salts are injected intravenously, the calcium ion concentration may increase immediately to high levels.

Calcium Exchange Between Bone and Extracellular Fluid

If soluble calcium salts are injected intravenously, the calcium ion concentration may increase immediately to high levels. However, within 30 minutes to 1 hour or more, the calcium ion concentration returns to normal. Likewise, if large quantities of calcium ions are removed from the circulating body fluids, the calcium ion concentration again returns to normal within 30 minutes to about 1 hour. These effects result in great part from the fact that the bone contains a type of exchangeable calcium that is always in equilibriumwith the calcium ions in the extracellular fluids.

A small portion of this exchangeable calcium is also the calcium found in all tissue cells, especially in highly permeable types of cells such as those of the liver and the gastrointestinal tract. However, most of the exchangeable calcium is in the bone. It normally amounts to about 0.4 to 1 per cent of the total bone calcium. This calcium is deposited in the bones in a form of readily mobilizable salt such as CaHPO4 and other amorphous calcium salts.

The importance of exchangeable calcium is that it provides a rapid buffering mechanism to keep the calcium ion concentration in the extracellular fluids from rising to excessive levels or falling to very low levels under transient conditions of excess or decreased availability of calcium.


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