Parathyroid Hormone for Osteoporosis

November 7, 2008
Julia Ernst, MS

The use of PTH as an enhancer to the body’s own bone-building mechanisms could lead to new drugs for treating osteoporosis.

The use of parathyroid hormone (PTH) as an enhancer to the body’s own bone-building mechanisms could lead to new drugs for treating osteoporosis and better therapies for bone-building, a new study has found.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) worked with the PTH signals of mice, testing to discover cell receptors that actively recruited calcium from the blood. One of the co-receptors they worked with was found to turn on bone-building mechanisms in the body, according to Mei Wan, PhD, first author on the study. Results of the research were published in the November issue of Genes and Development.

Previously, PTH was a known stimulant of bone formation, but it was unclear just how the mechanism worked. Complicating the discovery of this mechanism was the joint production of osteoblasts and osteoclasts.

“The ideal would be to have one drug to shut down the osteoclasts and turn on the osteoblasts to effectively build bone,” said Jay McDonald, MD, pathology professor and director of UAB’s Center for Metabolic Bone Disease. “We don’t have that yet, but this study shows us the path to get there.”

Currently, FORTEO is the only PTH drug that is approved for use in both postmenopausal women and in men with hormone-linked osteoporosis.

The discovery of PTH co-receptors could lead to more of these types of drugs, which could work to build back bone, minimize bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures among older people.

For more on the discovery, visit:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081031172937.htm

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/127830.php