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Bone. 2002 May;30(5):746-53.

A potent small molecule, nonpeptide inhibitor of cathepsin K (SB 331750) prevents bone matrix resorption in the ovariectomized rat.

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Department of Bone and Cartilage Biology, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, 709 Swedeland Road, PO Box 1539, King of Prussia, PA 19406, USA.


Inhibition of the cyteine proteinase, cathepsin K (E.C. has been postulated as a means to control osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. The preferred animal models for evaluation of antiresorptive activity are in the rat. However, the development of compounds that inhibit rat cathepsin K has proven difficult because the human and rat enzymes differ in key residues in the active site. In this study, a potent, nonpeptide inhibitor of rat cathepsin K (K(i) = 4.7 nmol/L), 5-(2-morpholin-4-yl-ethoxy)-benzofuran-2-carboxylic acid ((S)-3-methyl-1-(3-oxo-1-[2-(3-pyridin-2-yl-phenyl)-ethenoyl]-azepan-4-ylcarbanoyl)-butyl)-amide (SB 331750), is described, which is efficacious in rat models of bone resorption. SB 331750 potently inhibited human cathepsin K activity in vitro (K(i) = 0.0048 nmol/L) and was selective for human cathepsin K vs. cathepsins B (K(i) = 100 nmol/L), L (0.48 nmol/L), or S (K(i) = 14.3 nmol/L). In an in situ enzyme assay, SB 331750 inhibited osteoclast-associated cathepsin activity in tissue sections containing human osteoclasts (IC(50) approximately 60 nmol/L) and this translated into potent inhibition of human osteoclast-mediated bone resorption in vitro (IC(50) approximately 30 nmol/L). In vitro, SB 331750 partially, but dose-dependently, prevented the parathyroid hormone-induced hypercalcemia in an acute rat model of bone resorption. To evaluate the ability of SB 331750 to inhibit bone matrix degradation in vivo, it was administered for 4 weeks at 3, 10, or 30 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.), u.i.d. in the ovariectomized (ovx) rat. Both 10 and 30 mg/kg doses of compound prevented the ovx-induced elevation in urinary deoxypyridinoline and prevented the ovx-induced increase in percent eroded perimeter. Histological evaluation of the bones from compound-treated animals indicated that SB 331750 retarded bone matrix degradation in vivo at all three doses. The inhibition of bone resorption at the 10 and 30 mg/kg doses resulted in prevention of the ovx-induced reduction in percent trabecular area, trabecular number, and increase in trabecular spacing. These effects on bone resorption were also reflected in inhibition of the ovx-induced loss in trabecular bone volume as assessed using microcomputerized tomography (microCT; approximately 60% at 30 mg/kg). Together, these data indicate that the cathepsin K inhibitor, SB 331750, prevented bone resorption in vivo and this inhibition resulted in prevention of ovariectomy-induced loss in trabecular structure.

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