Cathepsin K inhibition preserves compressive load in lumbar vertebrae of osteoporotic monkeys

Isabel D. Colón-Bernal, Le T. Duong, Brenda Pennypacker, James Henderson, Kenneth M. Kozloff, Mark M. Banaszak Holl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Anti-resorptive drugs treat bone loss by blocking osteoclast activity through a variety of mechanisms of action. Once significant bone loss has occurred, the ability to restore biomechanical function may differ based on the drug chosen. To assess this question, bisphosphonate (alendronate, ALN) and cathepsin K inhibitor (MK-0674, CatKi) were employed in treatment mode to compare the relative changes to cancellous bone microstructure and mechanical properties in ovariectomized (OVX) cynomolgus monkeys. Lumbar vertebrae (LV) bone mineral density (BMD) values taken two years post-surgery prior to drug treatment show a 10–15% decrease (p < 0.05) for all OVX animals. OVX animals were then treated with vehicle (VEH), ALN (0.03 mg/kg weekly), or CatKi MK-0674 (0.6 or 2.5 mg/kg daily, CatKi-L and H respectively) for two years and compared to a control Sham surgery group. Ex-vivo microcomputed tomography (μCT) of LV2 and compression testing of LV4–6 were used to measure cancellous bone microstructure and changes in bone mechanics, respectively. After two years of treatment, ALN-treated animals showed no significant difference in μCT or biomechanical parameters when compared to Veh. However, treatment with CatKi-H resulted in a 30% increase in yield and peak loads, and apparent peak and yield stress as compared to Veh (p < 0.05) and gave average mechanical values greater than the Sham sample. Treatment with CatKi-L exhibited a similar trend of increase to CatKi-H (p < 0.08). Intriguingly, these changes were realized despite no significant differences in mean values of trabecular bone morphologic parameters. Together these data suggest matrix-level changes in bone composition that are unique to the CatK inhibition mechanism, resulting in the preservation of bone compressive load with treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalBone Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Alendronate
  • Cathepsin-k
  • Micro computed tomography
  • Osteoporosis

Cite this