Oral administration of melatonin contained in drinking water increased bone strength in naturally aged mice.
Acta Histochem. 2020 Sep ;122(6):151596. Epub 2020 Jul 18. PMID: 32778234
Melatonin has recently been found to be a possible new regulator of bone metabolism. However, the influence of melatonin in natural age-related osteoporosis has not been fully elucidated yet, although there have been some reports regarding postmenopausal osteoporosis with melatonin treatments. The present study investigated the effects of long-term melatonin administration during the aging process on bone metabolism. Using quantitative computed tomography methods, we found that the total bone density of both the femur metaphysis and diaphysis decreased significantly in 20-month-old male mice. In the metaphysis, both trabecular bone mass and Polar-Strength Strain Index (SSI), which is an index of bone strength, decreased significantly. Judging from bone histomorphometry analysis, trabecular bone in 20-month-old male mice decreases significantly with age and is small and sparse, as compared to that of 4-month-old male mice. Loss of trabecular bone is one possible cause of loss of bone strength in the femoral bone. In the metaphysis, the melatonin administration group had significantly higher trabecular bone density than the non-administration group. The Polar-SSI, cortical area, and periosteal circumference in the diaphysis was also significantly higher with melatonin treatments. Since the melatonin receptor, MT2, was detected in both osteoblasts and osteoclasts of the femoral bone of male mice, we expect that melatonin acts on osteoblasts and osteoclasts to maintain the bone strength of the diaphysis and metaphysis. Thus, melatonin is a potential drug for natural age-related osteoporosis.