Receptor May Aid in Advancing New Osteoporosis Treatment Therapies

New Understanding of Target for Treating Osteoporosis Should Enable Better Therapeutic Agents

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) Florida campus have recently achieved new insight into a prime target for osteoporosis treatment, an advance that may enable the development of more effective therapies for the condition. The target is a receptor that regulates calcium levels to maintain bone health. Medications in current use to affect this receptor are of limited utility due to their propensity to induce hypercalcemia, a condition that can cause kidney stones in addition to further weakening bones. But the team’s refined understanding of the structure of the receptor involves differentiating its effect on bone mineralization from its regulation of calcium levels, leading to hypercalcemia. This in turn points the way to the development of new agents that can impact the former process without triggering the latter. The research was published last week in the journal Nature Communications.

Lead author Patrick Griffin, PhD, co-chair of the TSRI department of molecular medicine, commented, “Because of our aging population, these kinds of therapeutics are in great demand.” The receptor under study, known as the vitamin D receptor, was found to influence the 2 processes of mineralization and calcification via 2 distinct genes, BGLAP and TRPV6, respectively. With this new knowledge of the receptor complex, the isolation of more selective compounds becomes feasible, according to the authors. Dr. Griffin noted “This study shows it’s possible to develop a drug that can alter certain aspects of the complex to avoid problematic activation of TRPV6—and the study points to novel ways to design potential therapeutics to treat osteoporosis safely and more effectively.”

Read a news story about the findings.

The journal article may be read here.

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