Influence of sub-chronic selective 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 inhibition on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in female cynomolgus monkeys

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Inhibition of local cortisol regeneration from circulating cortisone by blocking 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (11β-HSD1) has been shown to ameliorate the risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome. Chronic modulation of glucocorticoid homeostasis may result in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis stimulation. HPA axis over-activation leading androgen excess would be undesirable in a therapeutic intervention designed to treat a chronic condition such as the metabolic syndrome. To address whether 11β-HSD1 inhibition would lead to excess androgens, we treated female cynomolgus monkeys with a selective inhibitor, BI 135558, for 4 weeks. Continual action of the compound over the dosing period was confirmed by constant plasma exposure, and a maintained change in urinary glucocorticoid metabolites consistent with 11β-HSD1 inhibition. No significant changes in adrenal function, as evidenced by an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ATCH) challenge, were observed. An examination of androgenic hormones revealed a slight increase in dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), while other hormones such as testosterone remained within reference values. Overall, treatment with BI 135558 in monkeys did not result in obvious over-activation of the HPA axis.

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