Etidronate-based organic salts and ionic liquids: In vitro effects on bone metabolism

Sónia Teixeira, Miguel M. Santos, Luís C. Branco, João Costa-Rodrigues

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs widely used for the treatment of several pathologies associated with increased bone resorption. Although displaying low oral bioavailability, these drugs have the ability to accumulate in bone matrix, where the biological effects are exerted. In the present work, four mono- and dianionic Etidronate-based Organic Salts and Ionic Liquids (Eti-OSILs) were developed by combination of this drug with the superbases 1,1,3,3-tetramethylguanidine (TMG) and 1,5-diazabicyclo(4.3.0)non-5-ene (DBN) as cations, aiming to improve not only the physicochemical properties of this seminal bisphosphonate, but also its efficacy in the modulation of cellular behavior, particularly on human osteoclasts and osteoblasts. It was observed that some of the developed compounds, in particular the dianionic ones, presented very high water solubility and diminished or absent polymorphism. Also, several of them appeared to be more cytotoxic against human breast and osteosarcoma cancer cell lines while retaining low toxicity to normal cells. Regarding bone cells, a promotion of an anabolic state was observed for all Eti-OSILs, primarily for the dianionic ones, which leads to an inhibition of osteoclastogenesis and an increase in osteoblastogenesis. The observed effects resulted from differential modulation of intracellular signaling pathways by the Eti-OSILs in comparison with Etidronate. Hence, these results pave the way for the development of more efficient and bioavailable ionic formulations of bisphosphonates aiming to effectively modulate bone metabolism, particularly in the case of increased bone resorption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121262
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021


  • Bisphosphonates
  • Etidronate
  • Ionic liquids
  • Osteoblastogenesis
  • Osteoclastogenesis


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