Inhibition of aggrecanases as a therapeutic strategy in osteoarthritis

Future Med Chem. 2014;6(12):1399-412. doi: 10.4155/fmc.14.84.


Over the last decade, there has been a large effort to target aggrecanases, which are responsible for the degradation of the aggrecan in the extracellular matrix of joints, in order to hopefully lead to new treatments for osteoarthritis. Only a few inhibitors have been effective in explants or rodent models and thus only a few have reached the clinic, none of which have proven to be effective. In this article, a survey of chemical series is described, covering historical and recent inhibitors and highlighting how some of their problems were resolved, with a critical overview of the challenges encountered. A large effort should be undertaken in designing smaller compounds with higher residence times, defining new interaction sites on the aggrecanases and exploiting target flexibility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis / enzymology
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism
  • Protease Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Endopeptidases
  • aggrecanase