“Bone marrow adipose tissue has traditionally had a bad reputation because of its relationship to decreased bone mass but we now know that adipose tissue within marrow goes beyond the bone and also serves as an endocrine organ that can influence metabolism,” says co-lead author William Cawthorn, Ph.D., a U-M postdoctoral fellow in the MacDougald lab.
It has been known for its flavorful addition to soups and as a delicacy for dogs but bone marrow fat may also have untapped health benefits, new research finds.
A University of Michigan-led study shows that the fat tissue in bone marrow is a significant source of the hormone adiponectin, which helps maintain insulin sensitivity, break down fat, and has been linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity-associated cancers. The findings appear in today’s online-ahead-of-print issue of Cell Metabolism.
Bone marrow adipose tissue has primarily been associated with negative health effects, most notably because of a documented relationship to reduced bone mass and increased risks of fractures and osteoporosis. The new study however – which included people with anorexia, patients undergoing chemotherapy, rabbits and mice – suggests that this type of fat may also have benefits.
“These findings are significant because we’ve found that bone marrow adipose…
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