Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 133, Issue 5, pp 577–584 | Cite as

Possible involvement of melatonin in tooth development: expression of melatonin 1a receptor in human and mouse tooth germs

  • Shuku Kumasaka
  • Masashi Shimozuma
  • Tadafumi Kawamoto
  • Kenji Mishima
  • Reiko Tokuyama
  • Yoko Kamiya
  • Purevsuren Davaadorj
  • Ichiro Saito
  • Kazuhito SatomuraEmail author
Original Paper


Melatonin is known to regulate a variety of physiological processes including control of circadian rhythms, regulation of seasonal reproductive function, regulation of body temperature, free radical scavenging, and so forth. Accumulating evidence from in vitro and in vivo experiments has also suggested that melatonin may have an influence on skeletal growth and bone formation. However, little is known about the effects of melatonin on tooth development and growth, which thus remain to be elucidated. This study was performed to examine the possibility that melatonin might exert its influence on tooth development as well as skeletal growth. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that melatonin 1a receptor (Mel1aR) was expressed in secretory ameloblasts, the cells of the stratum intermedium and stellate reticulum, external dental epithelial cells, odontoblasts, and dental sac cells. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis showed that HAT-7, a rat dental epithelial cell line, expressed Mel1aR and its expression levels increased after the cells reached confluence. These results strongly suggest that melatonin may play a physiological role in tooth development/growth by regulating the cellular function of odontogenic cells in tooth germs.


Melatonin Melatonin 1a receptor Tooth development Immunohistochemistry Gene expression 



This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (16390591, 17791467 and 21592575) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuku Kumasaka
    • 1
  • Masashi Shimozuma
    • 1
  • Tadafumi Kawamoto
    • 2
  • Kenji Mishima
    • 3
  • Reiko Tokuyama
    • 1
  • Yoko Kamiya
    • 1
  • Purevsuren Davaadorj
    • 4
  • Ichiro Saito
    • 3
  • Kazuhito Satomura
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Second Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dental MedicineTsurumi UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.RI Research Center, School of Dental MedicineTsurumi UniversityYokohamaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, School of Dental MedicineTsurumi UniversityYokohamaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Institute of Health BiosciencesThe University of Tokushima Graduate SchoolTokushimaJapan

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