Sclerostin Antibody Reverses the Severe Sublesional Bone Loss in Rats After Chronic Spinal Cord Injury.
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To date, no efficacious therapy exists that will prevent or treat the severe osteoporosis in individuals with neurologically motor-complete spinal cord injury (SCI). Recent preclinical studies have demonstrated that sclerostin antibody (Scl-Ab) can prevent sublesional bone loss after acute SCI in rats. However, it remains unknown whether sclerostin inhibition reverses substantial bone loss in the vast majority of the SCI population who have been injured for several years. This preclinical study tested the efficacy of Scl-Ab to reverse the bone loss that has occurred in a rodent model after chronic motor-complete SCI. Male Wistar rats underwent either complete spinal cord transection or only laminectomy. Twelve weeks after SCI, the rats were treated with Scl-Ab at 25mg/kg/week or vehicle for 8weeks. In the SCI group that did not receive Scl-Ab, 20weeks of SCI resulted in a significant reduction of bone mineral density (BMD) and estimated bone strength, and deterioration of bone structure at the distal femoral metaphysis. Treatment with Scl-Ab largely restored BMD, bone structure, and bone mechanical strength. Histomorphometric analysis showed that Scl-Ab increased bone formation in animals with chronic SCI. In ex vivo cultures of bone marrow cells, Scl-Ab inhibited osteoclastogenesis, and promoted osteoblastogenesis accompanied by increased Tcf7, ENC1, and the OPG/RANKL ratio expression, and decreased SOST expression. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that Scl-Ab reverses the sublesional bone loss when therapy is begun after relatively prolonged spinal cord transection. The study suggests that, in addition to being a treatment option to prevent bone loss after acute SCI, sclerostin antagonism may be a valid clinical approach to reverse the severe bone loss that invariably occurs in patients with chronic SCI.