Characterization of negative allosteric modulators of the calcium-sensing receptor for repurposing as a treatment of asthma

Polina L. Yarova, Ping Huang, Martin W. Schepelmann, Richard Bruce, Rupert Ecker, Robert Nica, Vsevolod Telezhkin, Daniela Traini, Larissa Gomes dos Reis, Emma J. Kidd, William R. Ford, Kenneth J. Broadley, Benson M. Kariuki, Christopher J. Corrigan, Jeremy P. T. Ward, Paul J. Kemp, Daniela Riccardi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Asthma is still an incurable disease, and there is a recognized need for novel small-molecule therapies for people with asthma, especially those poorly controlled by current treatments. We previously demonstrated that calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) negative allosteric modulators (NAMs), calcilytics, uniquely suppress both airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation in human cells and murine asthma surrogates. Here we assess the feasibility of repurposing four CaSR NAMs, which were originally developed for oral therapy for osteoporosis and previously tested in the clinic as a novel, single, and comprehensive topical antiasthma therapy. We address the hypotheses, using murine asthma surrogates, that topically delivered CaSR NAMs 1) abolish AHR; 2) are unlikely to cause unwanted systemic effects; 3) are suitable for topical application; and 4) inhibit airway inflammation to the same degree as the current standard of care, inhaled corticosteroids, and, furthermore, inhibit airway remodeling. All four CaSR NAMs inhibited poly-L-arginine–induced AHR in naïve mice and suppressed both AHR and airway inflammation in a murine surrogate of acute asthma, confirming class specificity. Repeated exposure to inhaled CaSR NAMs did not alter blood pressure, heart rate, or serum calcium concentrations. Optimal candidates for repurposing were identified based on anti-AHR/inflammatory activities, pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, formulation, and micronization studies. Whereas both inhaled CaSR NAMs and inhaled corticosteroids reduced airways inflammation, only the former prevented goblet cell hyperplasia in a chronic asthma model. We conclude that inhaled CaSR NAMs are likely a single, safe, and effective topical therapy for human asthma, abolishing AHR, suppressing airways inflammation, and abrogating some features of airway remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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