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Chemically modified tetracyclines (CMTs 1-10) were developed as non-antibiotic inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). We previously demonstrated that MMP inhibition alone is insufficient to explain the pro-apoptotic action of CMTs in osteoclast lineage cells and we have explored additional mechanisms of action. We compared the characteristics of apoptosis in RAW264.7 murine monocyte and osteoclast cultures treated with pharmacologically relevant concentrations of CMT3 or the bisphosphonate alendronate, which induces osteoclast apoptosis through inhibition of farnesyl diphosphate synthase. CMT3 induced apoptosis rapidly (2-3h), whereas alendronate-induced apoptosis was delayed (>12h). CMT3-treated cells did not accumulate unprenylated Rap1A in contrast to cells treated with alendronate. Importantly, CMT3 induced a rapid loss of mitochondrial stability in RAW264.7 cells measured by loss of Mitotracker((R)) Red fluorescence, while bongkrekic acid protected polykaryons from CMT3-induced apoptosis. Modulation of mitochondrial function is therefore a significant early action of CMT3 that promotes apoptosis in osteoclast lineage cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem biophys res commun

Publication Date





840 - 845


Animals, Apoptosis, Cell Line, Cell Proliferation, Cell Survival, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Mice, Mitochondria, Osteoclasts, Tetracyclines