Naturally occurring hormone could offer a better osteoporosis treatment
Osteoporosis is characterized by the deterioration of bone tissue, resulting in weak bones that are easily broken. There may be new hope for treating the disease, however, utilizing a naturally occurring hormone.
Currently, drugs known as bisphosphonates are the most frequently administered type of osteoporosis medication. Unfortunately, they can produce a number of unpleasant side effects, plus they simply don't work that well on some people.
Seeking a more effective and easier-to-take alternative, scientists at Imperial College London recently looked to a hormone called kisspeptin, which is naturally produced by the body. Previous research indicated that injections of kisspeptin were well-tolerated by test subjects, producing no significant side effects.
In one of the new study's experiments, 26 men aged 18 to 36 years old received a boost of kisspeptin intravenously, for a 90-minute period. They also received a placebo, during another hour-and-a-half session. In both cases, their blood chemistry was monitored once every 30 minutes. It was found that when they received the hormone, their bodies produced an average of 24 percent more osteoblasts, which are bone-building cells.
Osteoporosis typically occurs when there is an imbalance between a person's osteoblasts and osteoclasts, the latter of which are bone-degrading cells. While osteoclasts ordinarily serve a beneficial function, by reshaping bones so they become stronger over time, they simply weaken the bones when they outnumber the osteoblasts.
For another experiment, performed by a team at the University of Southern Denmark, kisspeptin was added to bone cells in Petri dishes. In this case, not only did the hormone boost the activity of the osteoblasts, but it inhibited the activity of the osteoclasts.
"It is very early days, but we hope to take these novel exploratory results forward in future studies with the ultimate aim to see if kisspeptin could be a new safe and effective treatment option for osteoporosis," says the lead scientist, Dr. Alexander Comninos.
The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Source: Imperial College London