Relationship between melatonin and bone resorption rhythms in premenopausal women

Melissa A. St Hilaire, Shadab A. Rahman, Joshua J. Gooley, Paula A. Witt-Enderby, Steven W. Lockley

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Although evidence exists for a daily rhythm in bone metabolism, the contribution of factors such as melatonin levels, the light–dark cycle, and the sleep–wake cycle is difficult to differentiate given their highly correlated time courses. To examine these influences on bone resorption, we collected 48-h sequential urine samples under both ambulatory (8-h sleep:16-h wake) and constant routine (CR) (constant wake, posture, nutrition and dim light) conditions from 20 healthy premenopausal women. Urinary 6-sulphatoxymelatonin (aMT6s; ng/h) and the bone resorption marker amino-terminal cross-linked collagen I telopeptide (NTx; bone collagen equivalents nM/h) were assayed and fit by cosinor models to determine significant 24-h rhythms and acrophase. Most participants had significant 24-h aMT6s rhythms during both ambulatory and CR conditions (95 and 85%, respectively), but fewer had significant 24-h NTx rhythms (70 and 70%, respectively). Among individuals with significant rhythms, mean (± SD) aMT6s acrophase times were 3:57 ± 1:50 and 3:43 ± 1:25 h under ambulatory and CR conditions, respectively, and 23:44 ± 5:55 and 3:06 ± 5:15 h, respectively, for NTx. Mean 24-h levels of both aMT6s and NTx were significantly higher during CR compared with ambulatory conditions (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.03, respectively). Menstrual phase (follicular versus luteal) had no impact on aMT6s or NTx timing or 24-h levels. This study confirms an endogenous circadian rhythm in NTx with a night-time peak when measured under CR conditions, but also confirms that environmental factors such as the sleep–wake or light–dark cycles, posture or meal timing affects overall concentrations and peak timing under ambulatory conditions, the significance of which remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone metabolism
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Light
  • Melatonin
  • Sleep

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