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19-02-2018 | Osteoporosis | Review | Article

Marrow Fat—a New Target to Treat Bone Diseases?

Current Osteoporosis Reports

Authors: Beata Lecka-Czernik, Sudipta Baroi, Lance A. Stechschulte, Amit Sopan Chougule

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

The goal of this review is to summarize recent findings on marrow adipose tissue (MAT) function and to discuss the possibility of targeting MAT for therapeutic purposes.

Recent Findings

MAT is characterized with high heterogeneity which may suggest both that marrow adipocytes originate from multiple different progenitors and/or their phenotype is determined by skeletal location and environmental cues. Close relationship to osteoblasts and heterogeneity suggests that MAT consists of cells representing spectrum of phenotypes ranging from lipid-filled adipocytes to pre-osteoblasts. We propose a term of adiposteoblast for describing phenotypic spectrum of MAT. Manipulating with MAT activity in diseases where impairment in energy metabolism correlates with bone functional deficit, such as aging and diabetes, may be beneficial for both. Paracrine activities of MAT might be considered for treatment of bone diseases.


MAT has unrecognized potential, either beneficial or detrimental, to regulate bone homeostasis in physiological and pathological conditions. More research is required to harness this potential for therapeutic purposes.

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