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Phosphorus plays a critical role in diverse biological processes, and, therefore, the regulation of phosphorus balance and homeostasis are critical to the well being of the organism. Changes in environmental, dietary, and serum concentrations of inorganic phosphorus are detected by sensors that elicit changes in cellular function and alter the efficiency by which phosphorus is conserved. Short-term, post-cibal responses that occur independently of hormones previously thought to be important in phosphorus homeostasis may play a larger role than previously appreciated in the regulation of phosphorus homeostasis. Several hormones and regulatory factors such as the vitamin D endocrine system, parathyroid hormone, and the phosphatonins (FGF-23, sFRP-4, MEPE) among others, may play a role only in the long-term regulation of phosphorus homeostasis. In this review, we discuss how organisms sense changes in phosphate concentrations and how changes in hormonal factors result in the conservation or excretion of phosphorus.
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