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Keywords:

  • melatonin;
  • menopause;
  • osteoblasts;
  • osteoclasts;
  • osteopenia;
  • osteoporosis;
  • Per2

Abstract

An important role for melatonin in bone formation and restructuring has emerged, and studies demonstrate the multiple mechanisms for these beneficial actions. Statistical analysis shows that even with existing osteoporotic therapies, bone-related disease, and mortality are on the rise, creating a huge financial burden for societies worldwide. These findings suggest that novel alternatives need to be developed to either prevent or reverse bone loss to combat osteoporosis-related fractures. The focus of this review describes melatonin's role in bone physiology and discusses how disruption of melatonin rhythms by light exposure at night, shift work, and disease can adversely impact on bone. The signal transduction mechanisms underlying osteoblast and osteoclast differentiation and coupling with one another are discussed with a focus on how melatonin, through the regulation of RANKL and osteoprotegerin synthesis and release from osteoblasts, can induce osteoblastogenesis while inhibiting osteoclastogenesis. Also, melatonin's free-radical scavenging and antioxidant properties of this indoleamine are discussed as yet an additional mechanism by which melatonin can maintain one's bone health, especially oral health. The clinical use for melatonin in bone-grafting procedures, in reversing bone loss due to osteopenia and osteoporosis, and in managing periodontal disease is discussed.