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Growing Teeth in the Dark: Circadian Rhythmic Tooth Growth Regulated by Melatonin?

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Author(s): Fang Ji | Jiang Tao | William Jia | Gang Shen

Journal: Dental Hypotheses
ISSN 2155-8213

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 99;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Melatonin receptors | Circadian rhythm.

ABSTRACT
Introduction: Melatonin is re-leased from the pineal gland and its release is regulated by the light. It is a well-known hormone for circadian rhythm that affects various activities of our body. In particular, melatonin has been reported to enhance the differentiation of osteoblasts in vitro and promotes bone formation in vivo. Melatonin acts on its specific receptors on the cell surface and the receptors were found to be widely distributed in many organs including the teeth, which were reported recently. Interestingly, the teeth have also been known for a long time that may grow in a rhythmic fashion. The hypothesis: Based on the aforementioned understanding on melatonin and the distribution of its receptors, we hypothesized that melatonin may be the driving force for circadian rhythmic tooth growth.Evaluation of the hypothesis: Since melatonin regulates var-ious intracellular activities via its receptor, it is possible that melatonin also affects early development of teeth and their postnatal growth. In addition, the melatonin receptors may also involve in the pathology of various dental diseases including malocclusions.
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