Bone marrow and bone: a functional unit

J Endocrinol. 2002 Jun;173(3):387-94. doi: 10.1677/joe.0.1730387.


Bone and bone marrow, although often regarded as separate systems, function as a single unit. Cells in the bone marrow are the precursors of bone remodelling cells and exert an important regulatory role both on their own development and the remodelling process, acting as mediators for the effects of systemic and local factors. Other cells, such as immune cells and megakaryocytes, also contribute to the regulation of bone cell development and activity. Many diseases that affect the bone marrow have profound effects on bone, involving interactions between abnormal and normal marrow cells and those of bone. Although recent advances in bone physiology have produced new insights into the relationship between bone marrow and bone cells, much remains to be learnt about the mechanisms by which marrow and bone act in synergy to regulate bone remodelling, both in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Anemia / pathology
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Bone Marrow / physiology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / pathology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gaucher Disease / pathology
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Mastocytosis / pathology
  • Megakaryocytes / physiology
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Osteoclasts / physiology