The relatives of 25 index patients with primary parathyroid hyperplasia were tested for hypercalcemia. At least 13 of these patients had one or more first degree relatives with hypercalcemia. Two familial syndromes each with autosomal dominant transmission were recognized. Two index patients were part of large kindreds categorized as having familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (FHH). Manifestations of multiple endocrine neoplasia type I were present in the kindreds of at least four other index patients (FMEN I). In seven other kindreds there were too few affected members to allow definitive classification. Differences between manifestations of FHH and FMEN I were described. Among offspring of affected persons in kindreds with FHH, as distinct from FMEN I, the prevalence of hypercalcemia approached the theoretic maximum of 50 per cent during the first two decades. In FHH, nephrolithiasis and peptic disease were unusual; moderate hypercalcemia occurred without hypercalciuria; and subtotal parathyroidectomy did not abolish hypercalcemia. Concentrations of peptide hormones other than parathyroid hormone (PTH) were normal in those with FHH; in FMEN I high concentrations of glucagon in plasma were found in five of six patients tested, and high concentrations of gastrin were found in three of 12 patients. Hypergastrinemia generally accompanied obvious peptic disease. Distinction of the two conditions is important since patients with FHH may not benefit from subtotal parathyroidectomy, but they generally have a better clinical prognosis than do patients with FMEN I.
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