Osteoporosis: Potential New Drug Target Uncovered

Altering Healing Methods – Osteoporosis

New reason for osteoporosis has been discovered by researchers in the so-called senescent cells of the body. By directing these particular cells with anti-aging drugs, the discoveries have the possibility of altering healing methods for the treatment of growth-related bone loss.

According to the report of the National Osteoporosis Foundation – NOF, which is in the United States, around 10 million people tend to live with osteoporosis, a disorder where the bones tend to get brittle and break while another 44 million U.S individuals are presumed to have low bone density. Moreover the NOF had warned that almost half of all people in the country from 50 years and above tend to be at risk of breaking a bone and need to be worried about bone health.

A new cause for osteoporosis in mice had been discovered by researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The leading author of the study is said to be Joshua N. Farr of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Centre on Aging and Division of Endocrinology at the Mayo Clinic college of Medicine. The results had been published in the journal – Nature Medicine. The so-called senescent cells of the body are the ones which are involved in the usual development of aging and in diseases connected to aging.

Senolytic Drugs


Farr together with his colleagues, in the new study for osteoporosis, had designed numerous mouse models in which the mice had bone loss, aged between 20 and 22 months, which is comparable of being over 70 years old in the case of human years. The researchers had directed these cells in a series of ways.

They had switched off the genes for these cells and had eliminated them utilising the so-called senolytic drugs that had been meant to kill off senescent cells. Eventually they had utilised a drug which tends to constrain the activity of a kind of enzyme known as Janus kinase enzymes in order to obstruct the production of a pro-inflammatory element secreted by senescent cells.

The director of the Aging Bone and Muscle program at Mayo Clinic’s Robert and Arlene Kogod Centre on Aging, Dr Sundeep Khosla, had explained that the results of the research, stating that the effects of all three approaches on osteoporosis were strikingly similar.`They had enhanced bone mass together with strength by decreasing bone resorption though maintaining or increasing bone formation which is fundamentally different from all present osteoporosis drug’.

Combination Senolytic Drug – Eradicated Senescent Cells


Some of these methods had also been attempted on young mice of about 12 months. Genetically killing off senescent cells and constraining them with senolytic drugs did not show any beneficial effect on the bones of the young mice.

This further had strengthens the causal link between senescent cells and the growth-related osteoporosis. The drug senolytic utilised were dasatinib and quercetin had been administered in combination once a month. Co-corresponding research author Dr James Kirkland, Ph.D., director of the Kogod Centre on Aging had moreover explained the results.

He stated that although the combination of this senolytic drug had been present only in the mice for a few hours, it had eradicated senescent cells and had a long-lasting effect. He further added that this is another piece of the mounting evidence which senolytic drugs are targeting basic aging processes and could have widespread application in treating various chronic diseases’.

Bone Resorption


The authors moreover explained the advantage of administering this drug combination only occasionally, which is said to be at clearly set monthly intervals in comparison to the presently available osteoporosis medication that tends to be taken on daily basis and can have serious side effects.

The authors explained that the prevailing medication for osteoporosis seems to have a significant negative effect wherein it tends to decrease the bone resorption which in turn reduces the bone formation.

 Bone resorption is related to the process wherein the bone is naturally removed throughout one’s lifetime while new bones tend to form. In this study the senolytic drugs utilised is said to have lowered the bone resorption though preserved bone formation as well as at times increased it.

Khosla had stated that though they are aware from earlier work that the accumulation of senescent cells tend to cause tissue dysfunction, the role of cell senescence in osteoporosis at this point had been unclear.

He added that the novelty of this work for the bone field is in the fact that instead of targeting a bone-specific pathway as is the case for all present treatments for osteoporosis, they had directed theessential aging process which had the potential of improving not only bone mass but also ease other growth-related conditions as a group.

He concluded that they need to continue in pursuing these potential interventions that target important aging mechanisms as hopefully, an ultimate way of reducing the burden of fracture together with other conditions, like cardiovascular dysfunction, diabetes and frailty.

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