This study examined the effect of the highly potent nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate, minodronic acid (ONO-5920/YM529), on bone mineral density (BMD), bone turnover, bone microarchitecture and bone strength in ovariectomized (OVX) cynomolgus monkeys. Skeletally mature female cynomolgus monkeys, aged 9-17 years, were ovariectomized or sham-operated. Minodronic acid was administered orally once a day in doses of 0, 0.015, and 0.15 mg/kg from the day after surgery for 17 months. Bone resorption markers (urinary N-terminal cross-linking telopeptide of type I collagen and deoxypyridinoline), bone formation markers (serum osteocalcin and bone alkaline phosphatase) and lumbar vertebral BMD were measured at baseline and at 4, 8, 12 and 16 months after surgery. Treatment with minodronic acid dose-dependently inhibited OVX-induced increase in bone turnover markers and decrease in lumbar vertebral BMD, and minodronic acid at 0.15 mg/kg completely prevented these changes. At 17 months after surgery, minodronic acid also suppressed bone resorption (Oc.S/BS and N.Oc/BS) and bone formation (OS/BS, MS/BS, MAR, BFR/BS, and BFR/BV) in the lumbar vertebral bodies and tibia. In the mechanical tests, ultimate load on lumbar vertebral bodies and femoral neck of the OVX-control animals were significantly reduced compared to the sham animals. Minodronic acid prevented these reductions in bone strength at 0.15 mg/kg. There was significant correlation between BMD and bone strength, suggesting that the increase in bone strength was associated with the increase in BMD produced by minodronic acid. In micro-CT analysis of the lumbar vertebral bodies, minodronic acid improved trabecular architecture, converting rod structures into plate structures, and preventing the increase in trabecular disconnectivity at 0.15 mg/kg. In conclusion, similar to patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis, reduction in bone strength of lumbar vertebral bodies and femoral neck was clearly demonstrated in OVX cynomolgus monkeys. Minodronic acid prevented these reductions at a once-daily oral administration. Also, minodronic acid prevented OVX-induced changes in bone turnover, bone mass and bone microarchitecture. Long-term minodronic acid treatment was well tolerated and no adverse effects could be detected. These results suggest that minodronic acid may be a clinically useful drug for osteoporosis.
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