BACKGROUND: Lately, there have been suggestions that bone mass changes occurring in postmenopausal women may remain related to melatonin.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the relationship between the dynamic pattern of nighttime levels of melatonin and chosen biochemical markers of bone metabolism in ovariectomized rats--a model of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
METHODS: Mature Wistar female rats were either ovariectomozed or underwent a sham operation. Following this they were killed at 02:00AM at weekly intervals for 8 weeks after surgery. Serum levels of MEL at death related to the chosen biochemical markers of bone formation (alkaline phosphatase--ALP; carboxyterminal propeptide of type I procollagen--PICP, both in serum) and resorption (cross-linked carboxyterminal telopeptide of type I collagen--ICTP in serum; hydroxyproline--HYP and total calcium--Ca, both excreted in urine).
RESULTS: In all ovariectomized rats changes of examined indices of bone tissue metabolism were found to be dynamic and statistically significant relative to the control group; however the changes were more pronounced regarding resorption markers. Following ovariectomy, the increase in ALP and PICP values was found to begin at the 4th and the 1st week, while that in ICTP, HYP and Ca at the 2nd, the 1st and the 1st week, respectively. The ALP and PICP values remained at a similar level until the end of observation, whereas ICTP, HYP and Ca gradually decreased. MEL levels were decreased during the 2nd week following surgery and slightly increased 2 weeks later. The serum MEL levels in the ovariectomized group were significantly and negatively correlated with serum ICTP and both urinary HYP and Ca levels.
CONCLUSION: Our findings in rats seem to corroborate the concept of secondary changes in MEL levels co-participating in the development of bone mass changes characteristic for postmenopausal osteoporosis.