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What is Mineral Metabolism?

Minerals make up a large portion of our body and are constantly and actively turned over (metabolism). They are essential for a variety of functions of cells, tissues, and organs. Disturbances of these normal processes result in diseases of mineral metabolism. These disorders can be caused by too little or too much minerals, minerals not being turned over at the appropriate speed, and minerals ending up in the wrong places. Considerable expertise is required to diagnose and treat these disorders and that is often best done in centers where cutting-edge research is being conducted.


History of the Center

Image of Charles Pak, MD with Fred Bartter, MD
Charles Pak, M.D. as a trainee with Fred Bartter, M.D. at
the National Institutes of Health (1968-1972).

In 1972, Dr. Donald Seldin had the foresight of a Clinical Research Unit in Dallas. He secured federal support and started a unit in Southwestern. Dr. Seldin learned of Dr. Charles Pak through Dr. Fred Bartter at the National Institutes of Health and Pak was brought to Dallas. This was the first formal Division of Mineral Metabolism in the country and Dr. Pak established the Federally supported General Clinical Research. Pak's vision was threefold: 1. Focus on mineral physiology and diseases. 2. Maximize internal collaborations within Southwestern. 3. Emphasize recognition of paramedical staff who were under-appreciated. In 1994, the Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research (CMMCR) was established and in 2002, the Directorship was transferred from Dr. Pak to Dr. Orson Moe. Shortly after in 2004, the Center was renamed to the Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research, and in 2020, the Center reached autonomous departmental status on UTSW campus. The faculty, staff and trainees continue their mission of clinical practice, scientific discovery, and education in an ever-expanding scope and depth in mineral diseases.

Diseases of Mineral Metabolism

Common diseases

  • Kidney stone disease

  • Osteoporosis

  • Bone complications in kidney disease

  • Parathyroid disease (hyperparathyroidism and hypoparathyroidism)

  • Cancer-related bone disease

Uncommon diseases

  • Hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia

  • Hypermagnesemia and hypomagnesemia

  • Hyperphosphatemia and hypophosphatemia

  • Hypophosphatasia

  • Osteomalacia

  • Paget’s disease

  • Nephrocalcinosis

  • Osteogenesis imperfecta

  • Distal renal tubular acidosis

  • Proximal renal tubular acidosis

  • Bartter’s syndrome

  • Gitelman’s syndrome

  • Dent’s disease

  • Renal phosphate wasting

  • Fanconi’s syndrome

  • Cushing’s disease

  • Addison’s disease