Osteoporosis is currently treated with drugs targeting the differentiation or viability osteoclasts, the cells responsible for physiological and pathological bone resorption.

Nevertheless, osteoporosis drugs that target only osteoclast activity are expected to preserve bone formation by osteoblasts in contrast to current treatments. We report here the design, synthesis, and biological characterization of a series of novel N-arylsufonamides featuring a diazaspiro[4,4]nonane nucleus to target the guanine nucleotide exchange activity of DOCK5, which is essential for bone resorption by osteoclasts. These compounds can inhibit both mouse and human osteoclast activity. In particular, 4-chlorobenzyl-4-hydroxy-2-phenyl-1-thia-2,7-diazaspiro[4,4]nonane 1,1-dioxide (compound E197) prevented pathological bone loss in mice. Most interestingly, treatment with E197 did not affect osteoclast and osteoblast numbers and hence did not impair bone formation. E197 could represent a lead molecule to develop new antiosteoporotic drugs targeting the mechanism of osteoclast adhesion onto the bone.

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