Dissection of the molecular mechanism of action of GW5638, a novel estrogen receptor ligand, provides insights into the role of estrogen receptor in bone.
The estrogen receptor (ER) mixed agonists tamoxifen and raloxifene have been shown to protect against bone loss in ovariectomized rats. However, the mechanism by which these compounds manifest their activity in bone is unknown. We have used a series of in vitro screens to select for compounds that are mechanistically distinct from tamoxifen and raloxifene in an effort to define the properties of an ER modulator required for bone protection. Using this approach, we identified a novel high affinity ER antagonist, GW5638, which when assayed in vitro functions as an ER antagonist, inhibiting the agonist activity of estrogen, tamoxifen, and raloxifene and reversing the "inverse agonist" activity of the pure antiestrogen ICI182,780. Thus, GW5638 appears to function as an antagonist in these in vitro systems, although in a manner distinct from other known ER modulators. Predictably, therefore, GW5638 alone displays minimal uterotropic activity in ovariectomized rats, but will inhibit the agonist activity of estradiol in this environment. Unexpectedly, however, this compound functions as a full ER agonist in bone and the cardiovascular system. These data suggest that the mechanism by which ER operates in different cells is not identical, and that classical agonist activity is not required for the bone protective activity of ER modulators.
Willson, TM; Norris, JD; Wagner, BL; Asplin, I; Baer, P; Brown, HR; Jones, SA; Henke, B; Sauls, H; Wolfe, S; Morris, DC; McDonnell, DP
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