Insights into the Role of Circadian Rhythms in Bone Metabolism: A Promising Intervention Target?

Biomed Res Int. 2018 Sep 27:2018:9156478. doi: 10.1155/2018/9156478. eCollection 2018.


Numerous physiological processes of mammals, including bone metabolism, are regulated by the circadian clock system, which consists of a central regulator, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), and the peripheral oscillators of the BMAL1/CLOCK-PERs/CRYs system. Various bone turnover markers and bone metabolism-regulating hormones such as melatonin and parathyroid hormone (PTH) display diurnal rhythmicity. According to previous research, disruption of the circadian clock due to shift work, sleep restriction, or clock gene knockout is associated with osteoporosis or other abnormal bone metabolism, showing the importance of the circadian clock system for maintaining homeostasis of bone metabolism. Moreover, common causes of osteoporosis, including postmenopausal status and aging, are associated with changes in the circadian clock. In our previous research, we found that agonism of the circadian regulators REV-ERBs inhibits osteoclast differentiation and ameliorates ovariectomy-induced bone loss in mice, suggesting that clock genes may be promising intervention targets for abnormal bone metabolism. Moreover, osteoporosis interventions at different time points can provide varying degrees of bone protection, showing the importance of accounting for circadian rhythms for optimal curative effects in clinical treatment of osteoporosis. In this review, we summarize current knowledge about circadian rhythms and bone metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / metabolism
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Postmenopause / metabolism
  • Postmenopause / physiology


  • Melatonin