Age variations of melatonin level and its hormesis; implications for AIS and osteoporosis
© Grivas et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009
Published: 14 December 2009
Melatonin, the "light of night", is a very important hormone for the function of the human organism. Its secretion increases in early childhood. In adolescence there is a decrease of the hormone concentration. The levels continue to decline gradually during middle age. In an older population the levels of melatonin in the serum are very low. Among many other functions, melatonin is involved in human sexual maturation and then declines, affecting menses and osteogenesis.
Methods and materials
The development of menarche could be explored for evidence of hormesis. Hormesis is defined as the response of cells or organisms to an exogenous substance (e.g. a drug or toxin) or an intrinsic factor (e.g. a hormone) in which the factor induces stimulatory or beneficial effects at low doses and inhibitory or adverse effects at high doses [bimodal dose-response] or vice versa.
The bone-protecting effect of melatonin is well documented in ovariectomized rats which can depend in part on the free radical scavenging properties of melatonin. Additionally, melatonin may impair development of osteopenia associated with senescence by improving non-rapid eye movement sleep and restoring GH secretion. Whether modulation of blood levels of melatonin can be used as a novel mode of therapy for scoliosis and augmenting bone mass in diseases deserves to be studied .
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