Current Osteoporosis Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 95–104 | Cite as

Metabolic Coupling Between Bone Marrow Adipose Tissue and Hematopoiesis

  • Russell T. Turner
  • Stephen A. Martin
  • Urszula T. Iwaniec
Bone Marrow and Adipose Tissue (G Duque and B Lecka-Czernik, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Bone Marrow and Adipose Tissue


Purpose of Review

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) located in the bone marrow have the capacity to differentiate into multiple cell lineages, including osteoblast and adipocyte. Adipocyte density within marrow is inversely associated with bone mass during aging and in some pathological conditions, contributing to the prevailing view that marrow adipocytes play a largely negative role in bone metabolism. However, a negative association between marrow adipocytes and bone balance is not universal. Although MAT levels appear tightly regulated, establishing the precise physiological significance of MAT has proven elusive. Here, we review recent literature aimed at delineating the function of MAT.

Recent Findings

An important physiological function of MAT may be to provide an expandable/contractible fat depot, which is critical for minimization of energy requirements for sustaining optimal hematopoiesis. Because the energy requirements for storing fat are negligible compared to those required to maintain hematopoiesis, even small reductions in hematopoietic tissue volume to match a reduced requirement for hematopoiesis could represent an important reduction in energy cost. Such a physiological function would require tight coupling between hematopoietic stem cells and MSCs to regulate the balance between MAT and hematopoiesis. Kit-ligand, an important regulator of proliferation, differentiation, and survival of hematopoietic cells, may function as a prototypic factor coupling MAT and hematopoiesis.


Crosstalk between hematopoietic and mesenchymal cells in the bone marrow may contribute to establishing the balance between MAT levels and hematopoiesis.


Adipocyte Osteoblast Hematopoiesis Kit-ligand Bone remodeling 



Grants from the National Institutes of Health (AR060913 and AR066811) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NNX12AL24) supported this work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Russell Turner and Urszula Iwaniec report grants from the NIH and NASA during the conduct of this study. Stephen Martin declares no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell T. Turner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephen A. Martin
    • 1
  • Urszula T. Iwaniec
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Skeletal Biology Laboratory, School of Biological and Population Health SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Center for Healthy Aging ResearchOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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