Melatonin stimulates osteointegration of dental implants.
ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the topical application of melatonin on osteointegration of dental implants in Beagle dogs 14 days after their insertion. In preparation for subsequent insertion of dental implants, upper and lower premolars and molars were extracted from 12 Beagle dogs. Each mandible received cylindrical screw implants of 3.25 mm in diameter and 10 mm in length. The implants were randomly assigned to the mesial and distal sites on each side of the mandible. Prior to implanting, 1.2 mg lyophylized powdered melatonin was applied to one bone hole at each side of the mandible. None was applied at the control sites. Eight histological sections per implant were obtained for histomorphometric studies. After a 2-wk treatment period, melatonin significantly increased the perimeter of bone that was in direct contact with the treated implants (P < 0.0001), bone density (P < 0.0001), new bone formation (P < 0.0001) and inter-thread bone (P < 0.05) in comparison with control implants. Topical application of melatonin may act as a biomimetic agent in the placement of endo-osseous dental implants.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The circadian rhythm of pineal melatonin is the best marker of internal time under low ambient light levels. The endogenous melatonin rhythm exhibits a close association with the endogenous circadian component of the sleep propensity rhythm. This has led to the idea that melatonin is an internal sleep "facilitator" in humans, and therefore useful in the treatment of insomnia and the readjustment of circadian rhythms. There is evidence that administration of melatonin is able: (i) to induce sleep when the homeostatic drive to sleep is insufficient; (ii) to inhibit the drive for wakefulness emanating from the circadian pacemaker; and (iii) induce phase shifts in the circadian clock such that the circadian phase of increased sleep propensity occurs at a new, desired time. Therefore, exogenous melatonin can act as soporific agent, a chronohypnotic, and/or a chronobiotic. We describe the role of melatonin in the regulation of sleep, and the use of exogenous melatonin to treat sleep or circadian rhythm disorders.Journal of Neuroendocrinology 05/2003; 15(4):432-7. · 3.14 Impact Factor
Article: Melatonin mediates photoperiod control of endocrine adaptations and humoral immunity in male Siberian hamsters.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Effects of photoperiod are mediated by the pineal gland in male Siberian hamsters. The hypothesis that the pineal hormone melatonin mediates the effects of short days (SD) to blunt select humoral and endocrine functions was tested. In the first study, regressed testes were found in pineal-intact controls transferred from long days (LD) to SDs (16 hr to 8 hr light/day); the rise in antigen-induced serum immunoglobulin (Ig) M was blunted and serum cortisol concentrations elevated compared with long-day controls. These effects of short-day were blocked in pinealectomized males moved from long to SDs, but restored by melatonin treatments. In a second study, males in LD were exposed to constant light (LL) to abolish the nighttime melatonin rhythm. In hamsters in LL, melatonin induced testicular regression as in males in SDs. Large testes were present in vehicle-treated controls in LL and in males that remained in LDs. Antigen-induced increases in serum IgM in vehicle and melatonin treatment males in LL were intermediate between concentrations in long- or short-day controls and not significantly different from each other. However, serum cortisol was again elevated in hamsters in SDs or in LL when treated with melatonin compared with males in LL or LDs. These findings indicate that melatonin treatments mimicked the effects of SDs to regulate adaptive physiologic functions in hamsters lacking the nocturnal melatonin rhythm. Thus, the photoneuroendocrine mechanism regulating reproductive responses to photoperiod also mediates short-day effects on T cell-dependent B-cell antibody production and processes that regulate cortisol in circulation.Journal of Pineal Research 10/2007; 43(2):109-14. · 5.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The number of patients with well-controlled hypertension is alarmingly low worldwide and new approaches to treatment of increased blood pressure (BP) are being sought. Melatonin has a role in blood pressure regulation. The nighttime production of melatonin is found to be reduced in hypertensive individuals. Administration of melatonin decreased BP in several animal models of hypertension, in healthy men and women, and in patients with arterial hypertension. Most promising results were achieved in patients with non-dipping nighttime pressure, in which the circadian rhythm of BP variation is disturbed. Several potential mechanisms of BP reduction are considered. Melatonin can, via its scavenging and antioxidant nature, improve endothelial function with increased availability of nitric oxide exerting vasodilatory and hypotensive effects. Melatonin seems to interfere with peripheral and central autonomic system, with a subsequent decrease in the tone of the adrenergic system and an increase of the cholinergic system. Melatonin may act on BP also via specific melatonin receptors localized in peripheral vessels or in parts of central nervous system participating in BP control. With a large clinical trial using melatonin in hypertension treatment, many important questions could be answered, such as the dose of melatonin and regimen of its application, the choice of patients with greatest possible benefit from melatonin treatment, the potential of anti-remodeling effect of melatonin and the interaction of melatonin with other antihypertensive drugs.Journal of Pineal Research 05/2007; 42(4):319-22. · 5.79 Impact Factor
Melatonin stimulates osteointegration of dental implants
Melatonin influences numerous aspects of circadian and
circannual rhythms, including sleep, actions that are
mediated by the binding of the indoleamine to membrane
receptors [1–4]. Subsequent studies have established actions
of melatonin with aspects of intracellular functions, which
depend on mechanisms that are independent of the action
of the molecule on membrane receptors. For these actions,
nuclear receptors for melatonin in peripheral organs [5, 6],
and in cells of the central nervous system have been
identified . Melatonin is also capable of binding to
cytosolic proteins including kinase C , calmodulin  and
calreticulin , and probably quinone reductase-2 .
Additionally, some functions of melatonin seem to involve
nuclear receptors .
In view of these findings, melatonin is not a hormone in
the classic sense, but functions as a cell protector and an
antioxidant . It is known that the enzymes required for
the biosynthesis of melatonin are found in tissues other
than the pineal gland, and it is also known that several of
these tissues, amongst them the retina, thymus, spleen,
B-lymphocytes, ovaries, testicles, and the intestine, all
produce melatonin. Extrapineal melatonin produced by
specific organs is used locally as a paracoid or autocoid and
does not enter the circulation . Melatonin does not act
upon any specific target organ. It reaches all tissues and due
to its amphiphilicity, it enters all subcellular compartments
[15, 16]. Moreover, several organelles including the nucleus
and the mitochondria may accumulate melatonin [5, 17].
Numerous studies have documented that melatonin is an
important mediator in bone formation and stimulation .
At micromolar concentrations, melatonin stimulates the
proliferation and synthesis of type I collagen fibres in
human osteoblasts in vitro . Moreover, in preosteoblast
cultures from rats, melatonin, in a dose-dependent manner,
promotes development of bone sialoprotein and of other
protein bone markers, including alkaline phosphatase,
osteopontine, and osteocalcine, and reduces their period
of differentiation into osteoblasts from 21 days (which is
normal) to 12 days. This reaction seems to be mediated by
the membrane receptors for the indole . With regard to
bone metabolism, melatonin acts directly on the osteoclast,
a multinucleated cell, which resorbs the extracellular matrix
by various mechanisms, including the production of free
radicals. Melatonin, with its antioxidant properties and its
ability to detoxify free radicals , may interfere in this
function of the osteoclast and thereby inhibit bone resorp-
tion . The inhibition of bone resorption may be
enhanced by a reaction of indolamine in osteoclastogenesis.
It has been observed that melatonin, at pharmacological
doses, increases bone mass by suppressing resorption
Abstract: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the topical
application of melatonin on osteointegration of dental implants in Beagle
dogs 14 days after their insertion. In preparation for subsequent insertion of
dental implants, upper and lower premolars and molars were extracted from
12 Beagle dogs. Each mandible received cylindrical screw implants of
3.25 mm in diameter and 10 mm in length. The implants were randomly
assigned to the mesial and distal sites on each side of the mandible. Prior to
implanting, 1.2 mg lyophylized powdered melatonin was applied to one bone
hole at each side of the mandible. None was applied at the control sites. Eight
histological sections per implant were obtained for histomorphometric
studies. After a 2-wk treatment period, melatonin significantly increased the
perimeter of bone that was in direct contact with the treated implants
(P < 0.0001), bone density (P < 0.0001), new bone formation (P < 0.0001)
and inter-thread bone (P < 0.05) in comparison with control implants.
Topical application of melatonin may act as a biomimetic agent in the
placement of endo-osseous dental implants.
Antonio Cutando1, Gerardo
Go ´mez-Moreno1, Carlos Arana1,
Fernando Mun ˜oz2, Mo ´nica Lopez-
Pen ˜a2, Jean Stephenson3and
Russel J. Reiter4
1Department of Special Care in Dentistry,
School of Dentistry, University of Granada,
Granada, Spain;2Department of Clinical
Veterinary Sciences, University of Santiago de
Compostela, Lugo, Spain;3Department of
English, Facultad de Filosofı ´a y Letras,
University of Granada, Granada, Spain;
4Department of Cellular and Structural Biology,
Health Science Center, University of Texas,
San Antonio, TX, USA
Key words: Beagle dogs, melatonin, oral
Address reprint requests to Prof. Antonio
Cutando, Facultad de Odontologı ´a, Universi-
dad de Granada, Colegio Ma ´ximo s/n, Cam-
pus de Cartuja, E-18071 Granada, Spain.
Received December 20, 2007;
accepted January 14, 2008.
J. Pineal Res. 2008; 45:174–179
? 2008 The Authors
Journal compilation ? 2008 Blackwell Munksgaard
Journal of Pineal Research
through down-regulation of the RANKL-mediated osteo-
clast formation and activation [23, 24]. These data point
towards an osteogenic effect of melatonin that may be of
clinical importance, as it could be used as a therapeutic
agent in situations in which bone formation would be
advantageous, such as in the treatment of fractures or of
The aims of our investigation, carried out with experi-
mental Beagle dogs, were (i) to evaluate the effect of the
topical application of melatonin on osteointegration of
dental implants 14 days after their insertion and (ii) to
assess the feasibility of clinical application of melatonin in
osteointegration processes in the oral cavity.
Material and methods
Twelve male Beagle dogs (University of Co ´ rdoba, Spain)
were used in this study (age 14–16 months, weight 16–
18 kg). The animals were kept in standard cages. They were
fed a commercial diet for dogs. All experiments were
performed according to Spanish Government Guidelines
and European Community Guidelines for experimental
animal care. During the first operation, upper and lower
premolars and molars were removed. The animals were not
given food for 12 hr before anesthesia to prevent vomiting.
They were sedated by means of an intramuscular injection
of 0.5–1 mg/kg body weight acepromazine maleate, and
anaesthesia was induced by intravenous injection of 5–
8 mg/kg body weight ketamine plus chlorbutol (5–8 mg/kg
i.v.) and 0.05 mg/kg of atropine. The dogs were laid on
their left side. Peri-operatively dexamethasone (2 mL i.m.)
and amoxicillin (2 mL i.m.) were administrated immedi-
ately after surgery and subsequently for 7 days. The
mucosa was rinsed with 0.2% chlorhexidine gluconate
every day for 3 days. The animals were examined daily for a
week after the operation for signs of wound dehiscence or
infection and weekly thereafter to assess general health.
After a healing period of 2 months, implants were
performed in a second operation. After a crestal incision,
a full thickness mucoperiosteal flap was reflected. Sites were
sequentially prepared to receive the implants in accordance
with the protocol recommended by the manufacturer
(Implant Microdent System, Barcelona, Spain). A space
of at least 5 mm was left between each implant. Each
mandible received eight cylindrical screw implants of
3.25 mm in diameter and 10 mm in length; their surface
had been made uneven by means of sand and acid
roughening. Two implants on each side (four total) of the
jaw were evaluated in this study. The remaining four
implant sites were investigated for another study (Fig. 1).
The four implants were randomly assigned to the mesial
and distal sites on each side of the mandible. Prior to
implanting, a layer of 1.2 mg lyophylized powdered mela-
tonin (Helsinn Advanced Synthesis SA, Via Industria 24,
6710 Biasca, Switzerland) was applied to one bone hole at
each side of the mandible. None was applied at the control
sites. Wound closure was carried out using single reab-
sorbable sutures (Dexon 3-0, Davis & Genk, NJ, USA).
Healing abutments were attached after implant placement.
Only one healing period is evaluated in this paper, as the
objective of the present study was the assessment of the
early response to the utilization of the melatonin. At the
end of the experimental period (2 wk after implant place-
ment), the dogs were sacrificed by inducing cardiac arrest
by means of an intravenous injection of a 20% solution of
pentobarbital (Dolethal?, Ve ´ toquinol, Buckingham, UK).
The implants were removed together with the surrounding
bone and fixed in 10% neutral buffered formalin. The
specimens were dehydrated in a graded series of alcohol,
infiltrated, and embedded with Technovit 7200 VLC
(Heraeus Kultzer, Dormagen, Germany). The samples
were cut parallel to the longitudinal axis of the implant in
an orovestibular direction and processed by the cutting-
grinding method . Eight sections were made per
implant. Each section was ground down to the approximate
thickness of 20 lm and stained using the Le ´ vai–Laczko ´
staining technique. For histomorphometric analysis, images
magnified 40· were assessed digitally (DP12, Olympus,
Nagano, Japan). Microimage 4.0 was used for image
analysis (Media Cybernetics, Silver Spring, Maryland,
USA). The analyses were all conducted by the same
researcher, who was blind as to which group (experimental
or control) each sample belonged.
The bone-to-implant contact (BIC) was defined as the
length of bone surface border that is in direct contact with
the implant perimeter (·100 (%)) starting at the shoulder
of the implant. The inter-thread bone density was defined as
the area of bone inside the threads (·100 (%)) using the
four most central threads in the vestibular section and four
in the lingual section. Surrounding the implant, up to a
lateral distance of 1 mm the peri-implant bone density was
determined as bone area/tissue area (·100 (%)), again using
the central threads of the implant and measuring the new
bone and the old bone separately. The percentage of bone
neoformation is defined as the area of bone, which has
formed after implant insertion. Newly formed bone is
situated in the peri-implant area and between the implant
All data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. The
Student?s t-test was employed to analyze differences among
Fig. 1. In situ postsurgery implants in Beagle mandible.
Melatonin and osteointegration
variables. Statistical analyses were carried out using the
SPSS 11.0 computer program (SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA).
The level of statistical significance was established at
P < 0.05.
The results for the different histomorphometric para-
meters of osteointegration are presented in Table 1. As
regards the BIC parameter, it was observed that 2 wk
after surgery melatonin had increased the BIC in a
statistically significant manner (P < 0.0001). In relation
to the peri-implant bone area, melatonin brought about a
statistically significant increase in bone density around
the implants (P < 0.0001). In the inter-thread bone area
(P < 0.05). There was also a rise in percentage of new
bone formation 2 wk after placement in the melatonin-
treated implants (P < 0.0001). Figure 2 displays a histo-
logical section of an untreated implant, which shows the
small amount of new bone tissue in contact with the
implant, and the large amount of vascular and conjunc-
tive tissues and small quantity of bone that formed in the
peri-implant area. In contrast, Fig. 3, which presents a
histological section of a melatonin-treated implant, shows
that there is a greater amount of new bone tissue in
contact with the implant, with an increment in bone
formation in the peri-implant zone.
Links between melatonin and bone metabolism have been
documented in many studies [19, 20, 22, 23]. In these
investigations, melatonin acted on the bone as a local
growth factor, with paracrine effects on nearby cells [26,
27]. It is known that melatonin is present in high
concentrations in bone marrow where it exceeds serum
levels by 100-fold . Also, it has been shown that
melatonin influences precursors of bone cells in bone
marrow of rats . In addition, the indolamine has been
found to be a significant modulator of the metabolism of
calcium, and prevents osteoporosis and hypocalcemia in
certain cases, probably due to its interaction with other
bone regulatory factors, such as parathormone, calcitonin
or prostaglandins [29, 30]. These findings undoubtedly
have biological significance and support the present
findings. Two weeks after implant insertion, melatonin
significantly increased all parameters of osteointegration:
BIC, total peri-implant bone, inter-thread bone, as well as
new bone formation. In general, it is apparent that after
2 wk greater bone density was observed around the
implants impregnated with topical melatonin in compar-
ison with the untreated implants.
The larger amount of bone tissue in direct contact with
the implants that received topical melatonin perhaps
reflects greater synthesis of bone matrix in the peri-
implant area, could be due to an either increase in the
number or in the activity of osteoblast cells, or to the
inhibition of osteoclast activity, or to both actions. One
important action of melatonin is the formation of bone
cells. In this regard, several studies have shown that
melatonin stimulates the proliferation and differentiation
of human osteoblasts in vitro, as well as the synthesis of
type I collagen and other proteins of the bone matrix [19,
20, 31]. Melatonin, at micromolar concentrations, pro-
motes the proliferation of human mandibular (HOB-M)
cells, and of a human osteoblastic cellular line (SV-HFO);
this effect is dose dependent, with the maximal effect
ocurring at a concentration of 50 lm . Melatonin
stimulates differentiation in preosteoblast lines; thus,
melatonin-treated cells matured into osteoblasts after a
period of 12 days, in comparison to 21 days for the
preosteoblasts of the control group .
Table 1. Histomorphometric parameters for osteointegration in
control implants and in melatonin-treated implants, 2 wk after
(n = 12)
implants (n = 12)
(% bone contact)
Total peri-implant area (%)
Inter-thread bone (%)
Bone neoformation (%)
25.05 ± 2.4338.73 ± 1.46*
53.40 ± 4.58
25.08 ± 3.47
28.65 ± 1.92
73.80 ± 2.21*
36.3 ± 2.73**
35.18 ± 0.31*
The data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M.
*P < 0.0001 and **P < 0.05 versus control implants.
Fig. 2. Histometric view of an untreated
control implant. White areas correspond
to vascular and connective tissues, dark
blue areas to new bone and light blue
areas to mature bone.
Cutando et al.
In our study, the increase in osteoblast proliferation
brought about by melatonin is seen in the production of a
greater number of these cells in the peri-implant zone; also,
early cell differentiation accelerated considerably the syn-
thesis and mineralization of the osteoid matrix. This may
explain the greater quantity of mineralized bone matrix
around the melatonin-treated implants, as well as the
significant increase in BIC and in total peri-implant bone
after 2 wk. Bone in the peri-implant area is subjected to an
intense remodelling process after implant insertion; thus, a
large amount of this bone is at a more advanced stage of
development, in the form of already mineralized bone
matrix, while peri-implanted bone is to be found at the as
yet nonmineralized osteoid stage [32, 33]. The osteointe-
gration process also includes, therefore, not only the
remodelling of existing bone, but also the formation of
new bone around the implant, especially in the inter-thread
zone [34, 35]. Melatonin would appear to contribute to the
neoformation of bone around implants as it stimulates the
differentiation of new preosteoblasts, which are transported
from bone marrow to the alveolar bed via the vascular
system. Another action of melatonin at the preosteoblast
level, which enhances new bone tissue formation is its
stimulation of gene expression of certain proteins in the
bone matrix . In this sense, it has been demonstrated
that melatonin, after a period of 5–9 days, promoted
expression of genes for bone sialoprotein (BSP), alkaline
phosphatase (ALP) and osteocalcine (OC) .
Our results, which show a greater percentage of inter-
thread bone and new bone formation around the implants
treated with topical melatonin, are in line with previously
published findings. Support for this relationship is to be
found in the fact that the genes of a large portion of bone
matrix [BSP, ALP, OC, SPARC: secreted protein, acidic,
cysteine-rich (osteonectin)] contain the sequence of bases
(RGGTCA) necessary for the nuclear receptor of melatonin
(RZR) to bind with its promoting zone. Moreover, it may
be that this increase in the formation of bone tissue is also
mediated by the membrane receptors for the indolamine, as
treatment with luzindole or pertussis toxin reduces BSP and
ALP expression [20, 31]. Given that peri-implant bone
undergoes a remodelling process after implant placement,
had melatonin stimulated bone formation but also simul-
taneously caused bone absorbed during this process, the
increase in osteointegratoin parameters would probably not
have been so notable in such a short space of time (2 wk).
Such a rapid increase in bone formation suggests that
melatonin was acting at two different levels simultaneously
in the remodelling process.
It is well known that osteoclasts, multinucleate cells
responsible for bone resorption, contain superoxide dismu-
tase and produce reactive oxygen species in the micro-
degradation of components of the bone matrix since
structural molecules of the matrix, such as collagen or
hyaluronic acid, are susceptible to oxidative damage by free
radicals . Moreover, osteoclasts secrete another enzyme,
acid phosphatase that is resistant to tartrate (TRAP), which
has a binucleate center with an active iron which reacts with
hydrogen peroxide and, via the Fenton reaction, produces
the hydroxyl radical (•OH). The ferric ion formed in this
reaction also interacts with H2O2to produce the peroxide
anion radical and a ferrous ion. Hence, a sequence of
reactions occurs at the osteoclast level, which give rise to
HO• and O2–• through the continuous oxidation and
reduction of the active iron present in the TRAP;
this allows the generation of large quantities of reactive
species depending on the availability of H2O2 in the
It appears that melatonin acts at the level of the
osteoclast lacuna, due to its antioxidant properties and its
ability to neutralize reactive species, thereby inhibiting bone
resorption [22, 26]. After implant placement, despite the
care with which the surgical procedure is performed, bone
necrosis often occurs around the implant and there is an
inflammatory reaction as a direct consequence of surgery
[32, 38]. Macrophages and leukocytes from peri-implant
blood vessels promote an increase in free radicals [38, 39],
which stimulate bone resorption by the osteoclast [40, 41].
Melatonin?s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
may attenuate this reaction and constrain the production of
reactive species [42–44], and therefore bone resorption,
after implant surgery. This inhibition of bone resorption
may be reinforced by another reaction induced by melato-
nin on the osteoclastogenesis process. According to some
authors, the application of indoleamine at concentrations
Fig. 3. Histometric view of an implant
treated with melatonin. Cross-section of
corresponding peri-implant bone area. It
may be observed that there is a higher
percentage of bone tissue in contact with
the implant, greater bone formation and
scarcity of vascular and connective tissues
in the peri-implant area in comparison to
similar sections in control.
Melatonin and osteointegration
ranging from 5 to 500 lm lowers, in a dose-dependent
manner, the expression of mRNA from the RANK and
increases levels of both OPG as well of mRNA from the
OPG in preosteoblast cell lines MC3T3-E1 . This
indicates that melatonin may bring about a reduction in
bone resorption and an increase in bone mass due to its
repression of osteoclast activation by means of RANK .
These actions of melatonin on bone tissue are of interest
as it may be possible to apply melatonin during endo-
osseous dental implant surgery as a biomimetic agent .
As a result, the process of healing may be more precise,
initial conditions of receptor tissues may be enhanced, the
period of osteointegration and settling of the implant may
be reduced, and therefore the quality of life of the patient
may be improved.
This study has been possible thanks to the Research Project
entitled: ?Study of the synergism between Melatonin and
Growth Hormone (GH) on osteointegration processes in
dental implants and on bone regeneration in the oral cavity?,
financed by the Fondo de Investigacio ´ n Sanitaria, (FIS), of
the Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo, Spain (PI041610); by
the Ministerio de Educacio ´ n y Ciencia, Spain (Proyecto
PETRI 95-0885-OP); by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III
(FIS G03/137); by Grupo de Investigacio ´ n CTS-263 (Junta
de Andalucı´a, Spain), and Microdent Implant System
(Barcelona, Spain), who provided the implants.
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