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Pyrophosphate and diphosphonates produce striking results on calcium metabolism in experimental animals and man. Compounds containing P-O-P- bonds (e.g. inorganic pyrophosphate [PP-ii1 or P-C-P bonds (diphosponates) inhibit both the formation and dissolution of calcium phosphate crystals in vitro. PP-i may have a physiological function in regulating calcification and bone turnover, and obnormalities in its metabolism may occur in some human diseases notably hypophosphatasia and pseudogout. Diphosphonates inhibit ectopic calcification, and slow down resorption and bone turnover in several experimental systems in vivo. They have helped in studies of various aspects of the regulation of calcium metabolism. The diphosphonate, disodium ethane-1-hydroxy-1,1-diphosphonate (EHDP) has been shown in clinical studies to be effective against ectopic calcification particularly in myositis ossificans progressiva and in disorders of increased bone resorption such as Paget's diseases and some types of osteoporosis. -99mTechnetium complexes of EHDP, PP-i and other polyphosphates have also recently been used successfully as bone scanning agents.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin orthop relat res

Publication Date



241 - 263


Animals, Bone Resorption, Bone and Bones, Calcification, Physiologic, Calcinosis, Calcium, Calcium Metabolism Disorders, Cartilage, Chemical Phenomena, Chemistry, Culture Techniques, Depression, Chemical, Diphosphates, Etidronic Acid, Humans, Hydroxyapatites, Kidney Diseases, Methylene Chloride, Organophosphonates, Organophosphorus Compounds, Osteoporosis, Urinary Bladder Calculi, Vitamin D