Once-daily pill rebuilds bone in rats, mice

Most available osteoporosis treatments can only prevent the breakdown of old bone. But an investigational drug that effectively cured osteoporosis in mice and rats in a study could point the way to a new class of therapies, according to researchers from Columbia University Medical Center.

A little more than a year after the publication of research that found serotonin released by the gut inhibits bone formation, a team led by Gerard Karsenty read about the investigational drug LP533401, which is able to inhibit serotonin in the gut. "When we learned of this compound, we thought that it was important to test it as proof of principle that there could be novel ways to treat osteoporosis with therapies that can be taken orally and regulate the formation of serotonin," Karsenty says in a statement.

The researchers tested the compound in rodents experiencing post-menopausal osteoporosis-administering the compound to the animals once a day for up to six weeks. Results demonstrated that osteoporosis was prevented from developing, or when already present, could be fully cured, according to a statement. In addition, levels of serotonin were normal in the brain, indicating the compound was unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, thereby avoiding many potential side effects.

Study results were published in the Feb. 7 issue of Nature Medicine.

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-  the Nature Medicine article is available for purchase here