The blood level of phosphate is tightly regulated in a narrow range. Hyperphosphatemia and hypophosphatemia both lead to the development of diseases, such as hyperphosphatemic tumoral calcinosis and rickets/osteomalacia, respectively. Although several humoral factors have been known to affect blood phosphate levels, fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is the principal hormone involved in the regulation of blood phosphate. This hormone is produced by bone, particularly by osteocytes and osteoblasts, and has the effect of lowering the blood level of phosphate in the renal proximal tubules. Therefore, some phosphate-sensing mechanism should exist, at least in the bone. However, the mechanisms through which bone senses changes in the blood level of phosphate, and through which the bone regulates FGF23 production remain to be fully elucidated. Our recent findings demonstrate that high extracellular phosphate phosphorylates FGF receptor 1c (FGFR1c). Its downstream extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK)/ERK signaling pathway regulates the expression of several transcription factors and the GALNT3 gene, which encodes GalNAc-T3, which plays a role in the regulation of posttranslational modification of FGF23 protein, which in turn enhances FGF23 production. The FGFR1c-GALNT3 gene axis is considered to be the most important mechanism for regulating the production of FGF23 in bone in the response to a high phosphate diet. Thus-in the regulation of FGF23 production and blood phosphate levels-FGFR1c may be considered to function as a phosphate-sensing molecule. A feedback mechanism, in which FGFR1c and FGF23 are involved, is present in blood phosphate regulation. In addition, other reports indicate that PiT1 and PiT2 (type III sodium-phosphate cotransporters), and calcium-sensing receptor are also involved in the phosphate-sensing mechanism. In the present chapter, we summarize new insights on phosphate-sensing mechanisms.
Keywords: 1,25(OH)2D; FGF23; FGFR1c; GALNT3; Phosphate-sensing; PiT1, PiT2.
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