Professor Narattaphol Charoenphandhu

Professor Narattaphol Charoenphandhu, M.D., Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Physiology


ศาสตราจารย์ ดร. นพ.นรัตถพล เจริญพันธุ์
Professor Narattaphol Charoenphandhu
B.Sc. (Medical Science, Hons.), M.D. (Hons.), Ph.D. (Physiology)
Distinguished Professor of Physiology


  • Calcium and bone physiology
  • Calcium metabolism: epithelial calcium transport and bone microstructure
    Physiology and biophysics: membrane biology and electrophysiological models of ion transport across the epithelia
  • Neural control of bone metabolism
  • Development of calcium-fortified products



Technical expert:

  • Calcium and ion transport study using radioactive tracers
  • Epithelial impedance analysis
  • Computer- assisted bone histomorphometry
  • Micro-computed tomography
  • Quantitative immunohistochemical analysis
  • Microarray and transcriptome analysis of enterocytes and bone cells
  • In vivo study in normal and mutant animals
  • Clinical trials for development of calcium supplement

Research summary 

Source: TRF Senior Research Scholars 2014 Biography Book, distributed under a permission of Thailand Research Fund (TRF)

The ultimate goal of Prof. Narattaphol’s work is to answer the question of how to help Thai people have strong and healthy bone? This question should bring awareness to the future risk that comes with aging population and should be included in the public health policy. Aging is usually accompanied by degenerative bone diseases, metabolic bone diseases, and fractures that are expensive to treat and eventually lead to morbidity and mortality. Better understanding of the mechanism of overall calcium-regulating system is required to optimize efficiency of prevention and treatment (e.g., calcium supplementation). To achieve this goal, Prof. Narattaphol and his colleagues use various multidisciplinary techniques, e.g., organ transplantation, electrophysiology, biophysics, X-ray imaging, micro-computed tomography, bone histomorphometry, molecular biology, and bioinformatics, to elucidate in depth the calcium-regulating machinery. His work is communicated in the form of published scientific papers, as well as other forms of media, such as interviewed articles in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television broadcasting, for health promotion (e.g., concept about swimming, running and other types of exercise) and medical prevention (e.g., calcium supplement in osteoporotic patients and breastfeeding mothers). Examples of research output, outcome and impact are as follows.

Novel mechanism of the transcellular calcium absorption

Calcium absorption is the sole pathway to supply calcium to the body. According to the classical textbooks, the intestinal calcium absorption through cell body, known as the transcellular calcium transport, requires three transporter proteins, namely TRPV6, calbindin-D9k, and PMCA1b. However, in 2007–2008, several investigators showed by using transporter-knockdown cells and knockout animals that those transporters were not the main transporters for calcium absorption (i.e., the concept in the textbooks is no longer accurate). Thus, by using combined microarray and molecular biology techniques, Prof. Narattaphol and his colleagues have identified a transporter named Cav1.3, which is important for the transcellular calcium absorption.

Novel mechanism of the paracellular calcium absorption

Approximately 85% of the intestinal calcium absorption occurs through the space between cells (known as paracellular pathway). Little is currently known as to how paracellular calcium transport is regulated. Prof. Narattaphol and his colleagues have recently identified, for the first time, that a new protein named claudin-15 is important for this transport mechanism. Thus, understanding of the function and regulation of this protein (together with Cav1.3) is crucial for the design of better calcium-fortified tablet and diet to maximize calcium absorption efficiency to improve calcium metabolism for pregnant and lactating women.

Novel role of the lactogenic hormone prolactin during pregnancy and lactation in the translocation of calcium from diet to bone

Because breast milk is the major source of nutrients for the offspring, mothers transfer a huge amount of calcium into milk, leading to a low bone mass (osteopenia) or even osteoporosis. Prolactin surge, which normally occurs during breastfeeding, markedly increases the intestinal calcium absorption by two folds. Recently, Prof. Narattaphol and colleagues have provided evidence that calcium supplementation at 30–90 min prior to breastfeeding maximally benefits calcium metabolism in both maternal rats and newborns, and reduces the severity of lactation-induced osteopenia.

Physiological significance of the cecal calcium absorption

Under normal conditions, calcium absorption in the cecum contributes only 5% of the total intestinal calcium absorption, in part, due to the formation of insoluble (non-absorbable) calcium complex in alkaline environment. However, Prof. Narattaphol and colleagues have provided evidence, for the first time, that surgical removal of the cecum leads to massive fecal calcium wasting and severe bone loss, suggesting a physiological significance of the cecum. In the cecal lumen, free-ionized (absorbable) calcium can be liberated from the complex by a number of dietary ingredients, including prebiotics (e.g., soybeans, raw oat and unrefined wheat) and probiotics (e.g., fermented milk), both of which are health-promoting dietary supplements. Moreover, in the presence of lactogenic hormone prolactin, cecal calcium absorption is markedly increased, with the highest magnitude when compared with other intestinal segment. The underlying mechanism is, therefore, important for nutraceutical research and industry in the development of calcium-fortified pre/probiotics-containing diet for pregnant and lactating women.

Selected publication (2013–present)

2017: Charoenphandhu N, Kraidith K, Lertsuwan K, Sripong C, Suntornsaratoon P, Svasti S, Krishnamra N, Wongdee K. Na+/H+ exchanger 3 inhibitor diminishes                 hepcidin- enhanced duodenal calcium transport in hemizygous β-globin knockout thalassemic mice. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2017 (in press).

2017: Keothongkham K, Charoenphandhu N, Thongbunchoo J, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Tang IM, Pon-On W. Evaluation of bioactive glass incorporated     Poly(caprolactone)-Poly(vinyl alcohol) matrix and the effect of BMP-2 modification. Materials Science & Engineering C 2017;74:47-54.

2017: Thammayon N, Wongdee K, Lertsuwan K, Suntornsaratoon P, Thongbunchoo J, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Na+/H+ exchanger 3 inhibitor diminishes the amino-acid-enhanced transepithelial calcium transport across the rat duodenum. Amino Acids 2017 (in press).

2017: Wongdee K, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Derangement of calcium metabolism in diabetes mellitus: negative outcome from the synergy between impaired bone turnover and intestinal calcium absorption. Journal of Physiological Sciences 2017;67(1):71–81.

2017: Nakkrasae L, Phummisutthigoon S, Charoenphandhu N. Salinity increases total body prolactin and gill and skin prolactin receptor expression in the Chinese edible frog, Hoplobatrachus rugulosus, tadpole. Aquaculture Research 2017 (in press).

2017: Charoenphandhu N, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Sa-nguanmoo P, Tanajak P, Wang X, Liang G, Li X, Jiang C, Chattipakorn N, Chattipakorn S. Fibroblast growth factor-21 restores insulin sensitivity but induces aberrant bone microstructure in obese insulin-resistant rats. Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism 2017 (in press).

2017: Mooyen S, Charoenphandhu N, Teerapornpuntakit J, Thongbunchoo J, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Tang IM, Pon-On W. Physico-chemical and in vitro cellular properties of different calcium phosphate-bioactive glass composite chitosan-collagen (CaP@ChiCol) for bone scaffolds. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research B 2017 (in press).

2016: Kittivanichkul D, Charoenphandhu N, Khemawoot P, Malaivijitnond S. Pueraria mirifica alleviates cortical bone loss in naturally menopausal monkeys. Journal of Endocrinology 2016;231(2):121–133.

2016: Kraidith K, Svasti S, Teerapornpuntakit J, Vadolas J, Chaimana R, Lapmanee S, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Fucharoen S, Charoenphandhu N*. Hepcidin and 1,25(OH)2D3 effectively restore Ca2+ transport in β-thalassemic mice: reciprocal phenomenon of Fe2+ and Ca2+ absorption. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism 2016;311(1):E214–E223.

2016: Pon-On W, Suntornsaratoon P, Charoenphandhu N, Thongbunchoo J, Krishnamra N, Tang IM. Hydroxyapatite from fish scale for potential use as bone scaffold or regenerative material. Materials Science and Engineering C 2016;62:183–189.

2016: Suthon S, Jaroenporn S, Charoenphandhu N, Suntornsaratoon P, Malaivijitnond S. Anti-osteoporotic effects of Pueraria candollei var. mirifica on bone mineral density and histomorphometry in estrogen-deficient rats. Journal of Natural Medicines 2016;70(2):225–233.

2016: Teerapornpuntakit J, Wongdee K, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N. Expression of osteoclastogenic factor transcripts in osteoblast-like UMR-106 cells after exposure to FGF-23 or FGF-23 combined with parathyroid hormone. Cell Biology International 2016;40(3):329–340.

2016: Wongdee K, Teerapornpuntakit J, Sripong C, Longkunan A, Chankamngoen W, Keadsai C, Kraidith K, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Intestinal mucosal changes and upregulated calcium transporter and FGF-23 expression during lactation: contribution of lactogenic hormone prolactin. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 2016;590(1):109–117.

2016: Potikanond S, Rattanachote P, Pintana H, Suntornsaratoon P, Charoenphandhu N, Chattipakorn N, Chattipakorn S. Obesity does not aggravate osteoporosis or osteoblastic insulin resistance in orchiectomized rats. Journal of Endocrinology 2016;228(2):85–95.

2016: Thiengwittayaporn S, Fusakul Y, Kangkano N, Jarupongprapa C, Charoenphandhu N. Hand-held navigation may improve accuracy in minimally invasive total knee arthroplasty: a prospective randomized controlled trial. International Orthopaedics 2016;40(1):51–57.

2016: Nakkrasae L, Phummisutthigoon S, Charoenphandhu N. Low salinity increases survival, body weight, and development in tadpoles of the Chinese edible frog Hoplobatrachus rugulosus. Aquaculture Research 2016;47(10):3109–3118.

2015: Thongchote K, Svasti S, Teerapornpuntakit J, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Bone microstructural defects and osteopenia in hemizygous βIVSII-654knockin thalassemic mice: sex-dependent changes in bone density and osteoclast function. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism 2015;309(11):E936–E948.

2015: Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Positive long-term outcomes from presuckling calcium supplementation in lactating rats and the offspring. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism 2015;308(11):E1010–E1022.

2015: Nakkrasae L, Wisetdee K, Charoenphandhu N. Osmoregulatory adaptations of freshwater air-breathing snakehead fish (Channa striata) after exposure to brackish water. Journal of Comparative Physiology – B 2015;185(5):527–537.

2015: Wongdee K, Charoenphandhu N*. Vitamin D-enhanced duodenal calcium transport. Vitamins and Hormones 2015;98:407–440.

2015: Lertsinthai P, Charoenphandhu J, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N. Voluntary wheel running mitigates the stress-induced bone loss in ovariectomized rats. Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism 2015;33(3):261–269.

2014: Lapmanee S, Charoenphandhu N*, Aeimlapa R, Suntornsaratoon P, Wongdee K, Tiyasatkulkovit W, Kengkoom K, Chaimongkolnukul K, Seriwatanachai D, Krishnamra N. High dietary cholesterol masks type 2 diabetes-induced osteopenia and changes in bone microstructure in rats. Lipids 2014;49(10):975–986.

2014: Aeimlapa R, Wongdee K, Charoenphandhu N, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N. Premature chondrocyte apoptosis and compensatory upregulation of chondroregulatory protein expression in the growth plate of Goto-Kakizaki diabetic rats. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2014;452(3):395–401.

2014: Tiyasatkulkovit W, Malaivijitnond S, Charoenphandhu N, Havill LM, Ford AL, VandeBerg JL. Pueraria mirifica extract and puerarin enhance proliferation and expression of alkaline phosphatase and type I collagen in primary baboon osteoblasts. Phytomedicine 2014;21(12):1498–1503.

2014: Thongchote K, Svasti S, Teerapornpuntakit J, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Running exercise alleviates trabecular bone loss and osteopenia in hemizygous β-globin knockout thalassemic mice. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism 2014;306(12):E1406–E1417.

2014: Teerapornpuntakit J, Klanchui A, Karoonuthaisiri N, Wongdee K, Charoenphandhu N*. Expression of transcripts related to intestinal ion and nutrient absorption in pregnant and lactating rats as determined by custom-designed cDNA microarray. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2014;391(1–2):103–116.

2014: Pon-On W, Charoenphandhu N, Teerapornpuntakit J, Thongbunchoo J, Krishnamra N, Tang IM. Mechanical properties, biological activity and protein controlled release by poly(vinyl alcohol)-bioglass/chitosan-collagen composite scaffolds: a bone tissue engineering applications. Materials Science and Engineering C 2014;38:63–72.

2014: Suntornsaratoon P, Kraidith K, Teerapornpuntakit J, Dorkkam N, Wongdee K, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Pre-suckling calcium supplementation effectively prevents the lactation-induced osteopenia in rats. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism 2014;306(2):E177–E188.

2014: Suntornsaratoon P, Wongdee K, Tiyasatkulkovit W, Ampawong S, Krishnamra N, Kengkoom K, Charoenphandhu N*. Defective bone microstructure in hydronephrotic mice: a histomorphometric study in ICR/Mlac-hydro mice. Anatomical Record 2014;297(2):208–214.

2013: Pon-On W, Charoenphandhu N, Teerapornpuntakit J, Thongbunchoo J, Krishnamra N, Tang IM. Physicochemical and biochemical properties of iron-loaded silicon substituted hydroxyapatite (FeSiHAp). Materials Chemistry and Physics 2013;141(2–3):850–860.

2013: Khuituan P, Wongdee K, Jantarajit W, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Fibroblast growth factor-23 negates 1,25(OH)2D3-induced intestinal calcium transport by reducing the transcellular and paracellular calcium fluxes. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 2013;536(1):46–52.

2013: Wongdee K, Thonapan N, Saengamnart W, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Bromocriptine modulates the expression of PTHrP receptor, Indian hedgehog, and Runx2 proteins in the growth plate of lactating rats. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2013;381(1–2):191–199.

2013: Lapmanee S, Charoenphandhu J, Charoenphandhu N. Beneficial effects of fluoxetine, reboxetine, venlafaxine, and voluntary running exercise in stressed male rats with anxiety- and depression-like behaviors. Behavioural Brain Research 2013;250(1):316–325.

2013: Charoenphandhu N*, Kraidith K, Teerapornpuntakit J, Thongchote K, Khuituan P, Svasti S, Krishnamra N. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced intestinal calcium transport is impaired in β-globin knockout thalassemic mice. Cell Biochemistry & Function 2013;31(8):685–691.

2013: Pon-On W, Charoenphandhu N, Teerapornpuntakit J, Thongbunchoo J, Krishnamra N, Tang IM. In vitro study of vancomycin release and osteoblast-like cell growth on structured calcium phosphate-collagen. Materials Science and Engineering C 2013;33(3):1423–1431.

2013: Charoenphandhu N, Nuntapornsak A, Wongdee K, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu J. Upregulated mRNA levels of SERT, NET, MAOB and BDNF in various brain regions of ovariectomized rats exposed to chronic aversive stimuli. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2013;375(1–2):49–58.

2013: Dorkkam N, Wongdee K, Suntornsaratoon P, Krishnamra N, Charoenphandhu N*. Prolactin stimulates the L-type calcium channel-mediated transepithelial calcium transport in the duodenum of male rats. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2013;430(2):711–716.

2013: Wongdee K, Teerapornpuntakit J, Siangpro C, Chaipai S, Charoenphandhu N*. Duodenal villous hypertrophy and upregulation of claudin-15 protein expression in lactating rats. Journal of Molecular Histology 2013;44(1):103–109.

2013: Pon-On W, Charoenphandhu N, Tang IM, Teerapornpuntakit J, Thongbunchoo J, Krishnamra N. Biocomposite of hydroxyapatite-titania rods (HApTiR): physical properties and in vitro study. Materials Science and Engineering C 2013;33(1):251–258.

2013: Wongdee K, Charoenphandhu N*. Regulation of epithelial calcium transport by prolactin: from fish to mammals. General and Comparative Endocrinology 2013;181:235–240.

For the complete publication list, please see:

Contact Address: Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Mahidol University
Phone: (66 2) 441 9003-6 Ext. 1447