Loss of bone occurs in the age-related skeletal disorder, osteoporosis, leading to bone fragility and increased incidence of fractures, which are associated with enormous costs and substantial morbidity and mortality. Recent data indicate that osteoporotic fractures are more common than other diseases, which usually attract public attention (e.g., heart attack and breast cancer). The prevention and treatment of this skeletal disorder are therefore of paramount importance. Majority of osteoporosis medications restore skeletal balance by reducing osteoclastic activity, thereby reducing bone resorption. These agents, however, do not regenerate damaged bone tissue, leaving limited options for patients once bone loss has occurred. Recently, attention has turned to bone-anabolic agents. Such agents have the ability to increase bone mass and strength, potentially reversing structural damage. To date, only one bone-anabolic drug is available in the market. The discovery of more novel, cost-effective bone anabolic agents is therefore a priority to treat those suffering from this disabling condition. Short peptides offer an important alternative for the development of novel bone-anabolic agents given their high target binding specificity, which translates into potent activity with limited side effects. This review summarizes attempts in the identification of bone-anabolic peptides, and their development for promoting bone growth.
Keywords: anabolic peptides; bone formation; medicinal chemistry; osteoblast activity; osteoporosis.
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.