Franklin J Asuncion

Amgen, Thousand Oaks, CA, United States

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Publications (9)44.85 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The effects of up to 26 weeks of sclerostin antibody (Scl-Ab) treatment were investigated in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Two months after surgery, 6-month-old osteopenic OVX rats were treated with vehicle or Scl-Ab (25 mg/kg, sc, 1x/week) for 6, 12, or 26 weeks. In vivo DXA analysis demonstrated that the bone mineral density of lumbar vertebrae and femur-tibia increased progressively through 26 weeks of Scl-Ab treatment, along with progressive increases in trabecular and cortical bone mass and bone strength at multiple sites. There was a strong correlation between bone mass and maximum load at lumbar vertebra, femoral neck, and diaphysis at weeks 6 and 26. Dynamic histomorphometric analysis showed that lumbar trabecular, and tibial shaft endocortical and periosteal bone formation rates (BFR/BS) increased and peaked at week 6 with Scl-Ab-treatment; thereafter, trabecular and endocortical BFR/BS gradually declined but remained significantly greater than OVX controls at week 26, while periosteal BFR/BS returned to OVX control levels at week 26. In the tibia metaphysis, trabecular BFR/BS in the Scl-Ab treated group remained elevated from week 6 to 26. Osteoclast surface and eroded surface were significantly lower in Scl-Ab-treated rats than in OVX controls at all times. In summary, bone mass and strength increased progressively over 26 weeks of Scl-Ab treatment in adult OVX rats. The early gains were accompanied by increased cortical and trabecular bone formation and reduced osteoclast activity, while later gains were attributed to residual endocortical and trabecular osteoblast stimulation and persistently low osteoclast activity.
    Endocrinology 09/2014; · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Type 2 diabetes mellitus results in increased risk of fracture and delayed fracture healing. ZDF fa/fa rats are an established model of type 2 diabetes mellitus with low bone mass and delayed bone healing. We tested whether a sclerostin-neutralizing antibody (Scl-AbVI) would reverse the skeletal deficits of diabetic ZDF rats. METHODS: Femoral defects of 3 mm were created in 11-week old diabetic ZDF fa/fa and non-diabetic ZDF +/+ rats and stabilized by an internal plate. Saline or 25 mg/kg Scl-AbVI was administered s.c. twice weekly for 12 weeks (n=9-10/group). Bone mass and strength were assessed using pQCT, µCT, and biomechanical testing. Bone histomorphometry was used to assess bone formation, and the filling of the bone defect was analyzed by µCT. RESULTS: Diabetic rats displayed lower spinal and femoral bone mass compared to non-diabetic rats, and Scl-AbVI treatment significantly enhanced bone mass of the femur and the spine of diabetic rats (p < 0.0001). Scl-AbVI also reversed the deficit in bone strength in the diabetic rats, with 65% and 89% increases in maximum load at the femoral shaft and neck, respectively (p < 0.0001). The lower bone mass in diabetic rats was associated with a 65% decrease in vertebral bone formation rate, which Scl-AbVI increased by 6-fold, consistent with a pronounced anabolic effect. While non-diabetic rats filled 57% of the femoral defect, diabetic rats filled only 21% (p < 0.05). Scl-AbVI treatment increased defect regeneration by 47% and 74%, respectively (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Sclerostin antibody treatment reverses the adverse effects of type 2 diabetes mellitus on bone mass and strength, and improves bone defect regeneration in rats. © 2012 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
    Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 10/2012; · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Humans with inherited sclerostin deficiency have high bone mass. Targeted deletion of the sclerostin gene in mice (SOST-KO) causes increases in bone formation, bone mass and bone strength. Inhibition of sclerostin by a monoclonal antibody increases bone formation and enhances fracture healing in rodent and primate models. In this study, we describe the temporal progression of femoral fracture healing in SOST-KO mice compared with wild type (WT) control mice to further characterize the role of sclerostin in fracture healing. Sixty-seven male 9-10 week-old SOST-KO (N=37) and WT (N=30) mice underwent a closed femoral fracture. Weekly radiography was used to monitor the progress of healing. Histologic sections were used to characterize callus composition, evaluate callus bridging, and quantify lamellar bone formation on days 14 and 28. Densitometry and biomechanical testing were utilized to characterize bone mass and strength at the fractured and contralateral femurs on day 45. A significant improvement in time to radiographic healing (no discernible fracture line) was observed in SOST-KO mice, which corresponded to an increase in histologic bony bridging at 14 days (38% versus 0% in WT). Both genotypes appeared to be nearly fully bridged at 28 days post-fracture. The increased bridging at 14 days was associated with 97% greater bone area and 40% lower cartilage area in the callus of SOST-KO mice as compared to WT mice. Bone formation-related endpoints were higher in SOST-KO mice at both 14 and 28 days. At 45 days post-fracture, peak load and bone mass were significantly greater in the fractured femurs of SOST-KO mice as compared to WT mice. In conclusion, fractures in mice lacking sclerostin showed accelerated bridging, greater callus maturation, and increased bone formation and strength in the callus.
    Bone 08/2011; 49(6):1178-85. · 4.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical studies have revealed a blunting of the bone anabolic effects of parathyroid hormone treatment in osteoporotic patients in the setting of pre- or cotreatment with the antiresorptive agent alendronate (ALN). Sclerostin monoclonal antibody (Scl-Ab) is currently under clinical investigation as a new potential anabolic therapy for postmenopausal osteoporosis. The purpose of these experiments was to examine the influence of pretreatment or cotreatment with ALN on the bone anabolic actions of Scl-Ab in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Ten-month-old osteopenic OVX rats were treated with ALN or vehicle for 6 wk, before the start of Scl-Ab treatment. ALN-pretreated OVX rats were switched to Scl-Ab alone or to a combination of ALN and Scl-Ab for another 6 wk. Vehicle-pretreated OVX rats were switched to Scl-Ab or continued on vehicle to serve as controls. Scl-Ab treatment increased areal bone mineral density, volumetric bone mineral density, trabecular and cortical bone mass, and bone strength similarly in OVX rats pretreated with ALN or vehicle. Serum osteocalcin and bone formation rate on trabecular, endocortical, and periosteal surfaces responded similarly to Scl-Ab in ALN or vehicle-pretreated OVX rats. Furthermore, cotreatment with ALN did not have significant effects on the increased bone formation, bone mass, and bone strength induced by Scl-Ab in the OVX rats that were pretreated with ALN. These results indicate that the increases in bone formation, bone mass, and bone strength with Scl-Ab treatment were not affected by pre- or cotreatment with ALN in OVX rats with established osteopenia.
    Endocrinology 07/2011; 152(9):3312-22. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Therapeutic enhancement of fracture healing would help to prevent the occurrence of orthopedic complications such as nonunion and revision surgery. Sclerostin is a negative regulator of bone formation, and treatment with a sclerostin monoclonal antibody (Scl-Ab) results in increased bone formation and bone mass in animal models. Our objective was to investigate the effects of systemic administration of Scl-Ab in two models of fracture healing. In both a closed femoral fracture model in rats and a fibular osteotomy model in cynomolgus monkeys, Scl-Ab significantly increased bone mass and bone strength at the site of fracture. After 10 weeks of healing in nonhuman primates, the fractures in the Scl-Ab group had less callus cartilage and smaller fracture gaps containing more bone and less fibrovascular tissue. These improvements at the fracture site corresponded with improvements in bone formation, bone mass, and bone strength at nonfractured cortical and trabecular sites in both studies. Thus the potent anabolic activity of Scl-Ab throughout the skeleton also was associated with an anabolic effect at the site of fracture. These results support the potential for systemic Scl-Ab administration to enhance fracture healing in patients.
    Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 05/2011; 26(5):1012-21. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of sclerostin inhibition by treatment with a sclerostin antibody (Scl-AbII) on bone formation, bone mass, and bone strength in an aged, gonad-intact male rat model. Sixteen-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were injected subcutaneously with vehicle or Scl-AbII at 5 or 25 mg/kg twice per week for 5 weeks (9-10/group). In vivo dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) analysis showed that there was a marked increase in areal bone mineral density of the lumbar vertebrae (L(1) to L(5) ) and long bones (femur and tibia) in both the 5 and 25 mg/kg Scl-AbII-treated groups compared with baseline or vehicle controls at 3 and 5 weeks after treatment. Ex vivo micro-computed tomographic (µCT) analysis demonstrated improved trabecular and cortical architecture at the fifth lumbar vertebral body (L(5) ), femoral diaphysis (FD), and femoral neck (FN) in both Scl-AbII dose groups compared with vehicle controls. The increased cortical and trabecular bone mass was associated with a significantly higher maximal load of L(5) , FD, and FN in the high-dose group. Bone-formation parameters (ie, mineralizing surface, mineral apposition rate, and bone-formation rate) at the proximal tibial metaphysis and tibial shaft were markedly greater on trabecular, periosteal, and endocortical surfaces in both Scl-AbII dose groups compared with controls. These results indicate that sclerostin inhibition by treatment with a sclerostin antibody increased bone formation, bone mass, and bone strength in aged male rats and, furthermore, suggest that pharmacologic inhibition of sclerostin may represent a promising anabolic therapy for low bone mass in aged men.
    Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 12/2010; 25(12):2647-56. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RANKL is an essential mediator of bone resorption, and its activity is inhibited by osteoprotegerin (OPG). Transgenic (Tg) rats were engineered to continuously overexpress OPG to study the effects of continuous long-term RANKL inhibition on bone volume, density, and strength. Lumbar vertebrae, femurs, and blood were obtained from 1-yr-old female OPG-Tg rats (n = 32) and from age-matched wildtype (WT) controls (n = 23). OPG-Tg rats had significantly greater serum OPG (up to 260-fold) and significantly lower serum TRACP5b and osteocalcin compared with WT controls. Vertebral histomorphometry showed significant reductions in osteoclasts and bone turnover parameters in OPG-Tg rats versus WT controls, and these reductions were associated with significantly greater peak load in vertebrae tested through compression. No apparent differences in bone material properties were observed in OPG-Tg rat vertebrae, based on their unchanged intrinsic strength parameters and their normal linear relationship between vertebral bone mass and strength. Femurs from OPG-Tg rats were of normal length but showed mild osteopetrotic changes, including reduced periosteal perimeter (−6%) and an associated reduction in bending strength. Serum OPG levels in WT rats showed no correlations with any measured parameter of bone turnover, mass, or strength, whereas the supraphysiological serum OPG levels in OPG-Tg rats correlated negatively with bone turnover parameters and positively with vertebral bone mass and strength parameters. In summary, low bone turnover after 1 yr of OPG overexpression in rats was associated with increased vertebral bone mass and proportional increases in bone strength, with no evidence for deleterious effects on vertebral material properties.
    Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 02/2009; 24(7):1234 - 1246. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Receptor activator for nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL) is an essential mediator of osteoclastogenesis. We hypothesized that administration of soluble RANKL to mice would result in high turnover and deleterious effects on both cortical and trabecular bone. For 10 days, 10-week-old C57BL/6J female mice (n = 12/group) were given twice-daily subcutaneous injections of human recombinant RANKL (0.4 or 2 mg/kg/day) or inert vehicle (VEH). Bone turnover was greatly accelerated by RANKL, as evidenced by the 49-84% greater levels of serum TRAP-5b (bone resorption marker) and 300-400% greater levels of serum alkaline phosphatase (bone formation marker). RANKL resulted in significantly greater endocortical bone erosion surface (79-83%) and periosteal bone formation rate (64-87%) vs. VEH. Microcomputed tomographic (microCT) analysis of the proximal tibia indicated a reduction in trabecular volume fraction (-84%) for both doses of RANKL. Cortical bone geometry and strength were also negatively influenced by RANKL. MicroCT analysis of the femoral diaphysis indicated significantly lower cortical bone volume (-10% to -13%) and greater cortical porosity (8-9%) relative to VEH. Biomechanical testing of the femur diaphysis revealed significantly lower maximum bending load (-19% to -25%) vs. VEH. Bone strength remained correlated with bone mass, independent of RANKL stimulation of bone turnover. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that soluble RANKL could be an important etiologic factor in pathologic bone loss. RANKL also has potential utility as a model for studying the consequences of high bone turnover on bone quality and strength in animals.
    Calcified Tissue International 06/2008; 82(5):361-72. · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RANKL was administered continuously to rats for 28 days to investigate its potential as a disease model for the skeletal system. Bone turnover rates, bone material, structural and mechanical properties were evaluated. RANKL infusion caused overall skeletal complications comparable to those in high bone-turnover conditions, such as postmenopausal osteoporosis. RANKL is an essential mediator for osteoclast development. No study has examined in detail the direct skeletal consequences of excess RANKL on bone turnover, mineralization, architecture, and vascular calcification. We, therefore, administrated soluble RANKL continuously into mature rats and created a bone-loss model. Six-month-old Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were assigned to three groups (n = 12) receiving continuous administration of saline (VEH) or human RANKL (35 microg/kg/day, LOW or 175 microg/kg/day, HI) for 28 days. Blood was collected routinely during the study. At sacrifice, hind limbs and aorta were removed and samples were analyzed. High dose RANKL markedly stimulated serum osteocalcin and TRAP-5b levels and reduced femur cortical bone volume (-7.6%) and trabecular volume fraction (BV/TV) at the proximal tibia (-64% vs. VEH). Bone quality was significantly degraded in HI, as evidenced by decreased femoral percent mineralization, trabecular connectivity, and increased endocortical bone resorption perimeters. Both cortical and trabecular bone mechanical properties were reduced by high dose RANKL. No differences were observed in the mineral content of the abdominal aorta. Continuous RANKL infusion caused general detrimental effects on rat skeleton. These changes are comparable to those commonly observed in high-turnover bone diseases such as postmenopausal osteoporosis.
    Osteoporosis International 06/2008; 19(5):625-35. · 4.04 Impact Factor