Phosphate, Calcium, and Vitamin D: Key Regulators of Fetal and Placental Development in Mammals. Chapter uri icon


  • 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.

author list (cited authors)

  • Stenhouse, C., Suva, L. J., Gaddy, D., Wu, G., & Bazer, F. W.

complete list of authors

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

Book Title

  • Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition and Metabolism

publication date

  • November 2022