Novel, non-steroidal, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) with anabolic activity in bone and muscle and improved safety profile

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2002 Mar;2(3):222-4.


A novel approach to the treatment of osteoporosis in men, and possibly women, is the development of selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) that can stimulate formation of new bone with substantially diminished proliferative activity in the prostate, as well as reduced virilizing activity in women. Over the last several years, we have developed a program to discover and develop novel, non-steroidal, orally-active selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) that provide improved therapeutic benefits and reduce risk and side effects. In recent studies, we have used a skeletally mature orchiectomized (ORX) male rat as an animal model of male hypogonadism for assessing the efficacy of LGD2226, a nonsteroidal, non-aromatizable, and non-5alpha-reducible SARM. We assessed the activity of LGD2226 on bone turnover, bone mass and bone strength, and also evaluated the effects exerted on classic androgen-dependent targets, such as prostate, seminal vesicles and muscle. A substantial loss of bone density was observed in ORX animals, and this loss was prevented by SARMs, as well as standard androgens. Biochemical markers of bone turnover revealed an early increase of bone resorption in androgen-deficient rats that was repressed in ORX animals treated with the oral SARM, LGD2226, during a 4-month treatment period. Differences in architectural properties and bone strength were detected by histomorphometric and mechanical analyses, demonstrating beneficial effects of LGD2226 on bone quality in androgen-deficient rats. Histomorphometric analysis of cortical bone revealed distinct anabolic activity of LGD2226 in periosteal bone. LGD2226 was able to prevent bone loss and maintain bone quality in ORX rats by stimulating bone formation, while also inhibiting bone turnover. LGD2226 also exerted anabolic activity on the levator ani muscle. Taken together, these results suggest that orally-active, non-steroidal SARMs may be useful therapeutics for both muscle and bone in elderly hypogonadal men through their anabolic activities. Since SARMs both prevent bone loss, and also stimulate formation of new bone, they may have significant advantages relative to currently used anti-resorptive therapies. Coupled with their activity in muscle and their ability to maintain or restore libido, they offer new therapeutic approaches for male and female hormone replacement.