Melatonin effects on bone: Implications for use as a therapy for managing bone loss



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of pineal research






CTx, P1NP, circadian, clock proteins, melatonin, mesenchymal stem cells, osteoblasts, osteoclasts, osteopenia, osteoporosis, oxidative stress, rheumatoid arthritis


Melatonin is the primary circadian output signal from the brain and is mainly synthesized in pinealocytes. The rhythm and secretion of melatonin are under the control of an endogenous oscillator located in the SCN or the master biological clock. Disruptions in circadian rhythms by shift work, aging, or light at night are associated with bone loss and increased fracture risk. Restoration of nocturnal melatonin peaks to normal levels or therapeutic levels through timed melatonin supplementation has been demonstrated to provide bone-protective actions in various models. Melatonin is a unique molecule with diverse molecular actions targeting melatonin receptors located on the plasma membrane or mitochondria or acting independently of receptors through its actions as an antioxidant or free radical scavenger to stimulate osteoblastogenesis, inhibit osteoclastogenesis, and improve bone density. Its additional actions on entraining circadian rhythms and improving quality of life in an aging population coupled with its safety profile make it an ideal therapeutic candidate for protecting against bone loss in susceptible populations. The intent of this review is to provide a focused discussion on bone loss and disorders of the bone as it relates to melatonin and conditions that modify melatonin levels with the hope that future therapies include those that include melatonin and correct those factors that modify melatonin levels like circadian disruption.

Open Access