Repeated oral administration of a cathepsin K inhibitor significantly suppresses bone resorption in exercising horses with evidence of increased bone formation and maintained bone turnover


H. Hussein, J. Dulin, L. Smanik, W. T. Drost, D. Russell, M. Wellman, A. Bertone


Our investigations evaluated the effect of VEL-0230, a highly specific irreversible inhibitor of cathepsin K (CatK). The objectives of our study were to determine whether repeated dosing of a CatK inhibitor (CatKI) produced a desired inhibition of the bone resorption biomarker (CTX-1), and document the effect of repeated dosing on bone homeostasis, structure, and dynamics of bone resorption and formation in horses. Twelve young exercising horses were randomized in a prospective, controlled clinical trial and received 4 weekly doses of a CatKI or vehicle. Baseline and poststudy nuclear scintigraphy, blood sampling and analysis of plasma bone biomarkers (CTX-1 and osteocalcin), poststudy bone fluorescent labeling, and bone biopsy were performed. Bone specimens were further processed for microcomputed tomography and bone histomorphometry. Each dose of this CatKI transiently inhibited plasma CTX-1 (reflecting inhibition of bone collagen resorption) and increased bone plasma osteocalcin concentrations, with no detectable adverse effect on normal bone turnover in the face of exercise. Bone morphology, density, and formation rate were not different between control and treated group. Further investigation of CatK inhibition in abnormal bone turnover is required in animals with bone diseases.