Mole-rats (Family Bathyergidae) have no obvious source of calciol. They live in an environment devoid of sunlight and consume a herbivorous diet. Calciol status, metabolism and expression were examined in six species of Bathyergids. Serum levels of calcidiol in all species were < 5 μg/l and those of calcitriol were low (18.0 ± 11.0 (SD) ng/l, N = 57) when compared to other rodents. Within 72 h of injecting animals with tritium-labelled calciol, most of the labelled prohormone had been metabolized to more polar metabolites. Three times more tritium-labelled calcitriol (19.3 ± 2.9%) was present than (24R)-hydroxycalcidiol (6.2 ± 10%). The natural absence of detectable circulating concentrations of calcidiol and the threefold greater amount of calcitriol to (24R)-hydroxycalcidiol produced indicate that calciol naturally is in short supply. Calciol-dependent calbindins were absent in the duodenum. Calbindin-D(28k) was present in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum and in some collecting ducts and proximal and distal convoluted tubules of the kidney. Calbindin-D(9k) also was present but was localized uniquely in the juxtaglomerular cells of the five southern African species. These data confirm that Bathyergid mole-rats naturally have an impoverished calciol status. Despite the presence of calbindins in renal tissues, the functional importance of this hormone in calbindin synthesis and other normal mole-rat physiology is not known.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism