Current Osteoporosis Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 105–115 | Cite as

Marrow Adiposity and Hematopoiesis in Aging and Obesity: Exercise as an Intervention

  • Vihitaben S. Patel
  • M. Ete Chan
  • Janet Rubin
  • Clinton T. Rubin
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

Changes in the bone marrow microenvironment, which accompany aging and obesity, including increased marrow adiposity, can compromise hematopoiesis. Here, we review deleterious shifts in molecular, cellular, and tissue activity and consider the potential of exercise to slow degenerative changes associated with aging and obesity.

Recent Findings

While bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are increased in frequency and myeloid-biased with age, the effect of obesity on HSC proliferation and differentiation remains controversial. HSC from both aged and obese environment have reduced hematopoietic reconstitution capacity following bone marrow transplant. Increased marrow adiposity affects HSC function, causing upregulation of myelopoiesis and downregulation of lymphopoiesis. Exercise, in contrast, can reduce marrow adiposity and restore hematopoiesis.


The impact of marrow adiposity on hematopoiesis is determined mainly through correlations. Mechanistic studies are needed to determine a causative relationship between marrow adiposity and declines in hematopoiesis, which could aid in developing treatments for conditions that arise from disruptions in the marrow microenvironment.


Bone marrow microenvironment Lymphopoiesis Myelopoiesis Exercise Whole-body vibration 



This work was supported by National Institute of Health through National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases grant AR-43498 and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering grant EB-14351.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Janet Rubin, Vihitaben Patel, and M. Ete Chan declare no conflict of interest. Clinton Rubin has authored patents related to the use of mechanical signals to bias stem cell fate and mechanical regulation of metabolic diseases. He is also a Founder of Marodyne Medical. Other authors have nothing to disclose.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All animal and human studies referred to herein, that were performed by any/all of the authors, were reviewed and approved by the university (SBU and/or UNC) human/animal user committees. In addition, any of the human studies referred to, performed by Dr. C. Rubin, were done with informed consent of the subjects.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vihitaben S. Patel
    • 1
  • M. Ete Chan
    • 1
  • Janet Rubin
    • 2
  • Clinton T. Rubin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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