New Osteoporosis Study

Posted on April 15, 2010


Osteoporosis impacts many people worldwide. Osteoporosis is the weakening of your bones which can make them more susceptible to breaks or fractures. Anyone can get osteoporosis, but it tends to affect women more than men.

A study published in an issue of Nature Medicine reported on a new drug that could potentially help cure osteoporosis.  The study examined the effects of the new drug in lab mice and rats. The experimental drug blocked serotonin in the intestine and cured the lab mice and rats of osteoporosis.

Past research has shown that serotonin in the intestine can inhibit bone formation. The drugs that currently treat osteoporosis only prevent bones from breaking down, but they do not rebuild bone. In the study, small doses of the experimental drug were given to for up to six weeks to mice and rats who had postmenopausal osteoporosis. The experimental treatment cured the mice and rats who already had osteoporosis and stopped osteoporosis from developing in other rats and mice.

Serotonin levels in the brains of the animals remained normal, and it only inhibited the serotonin in the intestines of the animals. This means that the drug did not enter general circulations and therefore, creates fewer side effects.

The author of the study, Dr. Gerard Karsenty, chairman of the department of genetics and development at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in an article in Health Day News, “New therapies that inhibit the production of serotonin in the gut have the potential to become a [new] class of drugs to be added to the therapeutic arsenal against osteoporosis.” Karsenty also stated that, “…using these findings, we are working hard to develop this type of treatment for human patients.”