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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Kazuhito Satomura.

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Kumasaka, S., Shimozuma, M., Kawamoto, T. et al. Possible involvement of melatonin in tooth development: expression of melatonin 1a receptor in human and mouse tooth germs. Histochem Cell Biol 133, 577–584 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00418-010-0698-6

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Keywords

  • Melatonin
  • Melatonin 1a receptor
  • Tooth development
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Gene expression