NEW YORK An investigational drug that inhibits serotonin synthesis in the gut, administered orally once daily, effectively cured osteoporosis in mice and rats reports an international team led by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, in the Feb. 7 issue of Nature Medicine. Serotonin in the gut has been shown in recent research to stall bone formation. The finding could lead to new therapies that build new bone; most current drugs for osteoporosis can only prevent the breakdown of old bone.
"New therapies that inhibit the production of serotonin in the gut have the potential to become a novel class of drugs to be added to the therapeutic arsenal against osteoporosis," said Gerard Karsenty, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, lead author of the paper. "With tens of millions of people worldwide affected by this devastating and debilitating bone loss, there is an urgent need for new treatments that not only stop bone loss, but also build new bone. Using these findings, we are working hard to develop this type of treatment for human patients."
The Nature Medicine paper follows on a major discovery: http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/Karsenty-cell-serotonin-lrp5.html, also made by Dr. Gerard Karsenty's group (published in the Nov. 26, 2008 issue of Cell), that serotonin released by the gut inhibits bone formation, and that regulating the production of serotonin within the gut affects the formation of bone. Prior to this discovery, serotonin was primarily known as a neurotransmitter acting in the brain. Yet, 95 percent of the body's serotonin is found in the gut, where its major function is to inhibit bone formation (the remaining five percent is in the brain, where it regulates mood, among other critical functions). B
|Contact: Elizabeth Streich|
Columbia University Medical Center