The Multifaceted Roles of Bone Marrow Adipocytes in Bone and Hematopoietic Homeostasis

Document Type


Publication Date



Center for Molecular Medicine, MaineHealth Institute for Research

Journal Title

The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism


Bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT) makes up a significant portion of the marrow space, ranging from 50-70%, in healthy adults. It expands with aging, obesity, anorexia nervosa, and irradiation, which are conditions associated with skeletal complications or hematopoietic disorders. Therefore, BMAT has been viewed as a negative component of the bone marrow niche for decades, although the mechanisms and causative relationships have not been well-addressed. Of note, recent studies revealed that BMAT is a multifaceted tissue that can serve as an energy reservoir to fuel osteoblasts and hematopoietic cells under stressful situations, and also acts as an endocrine/paracrine organ to suppress bone formation and support hematopoiesis at steady-state conditions. In this review, we summarize the uniqueness of BMAT, the complex findings of previous studies and update our understanding of the physiological roles of BMAT in bone and hematopoietic metabolism based on a newly-established bone marrow adipocyte-specific mouse model.