Adipocytes and the regulation of bone remodeling: a balancing act

Calcif Tissue Int. 2014 Jan;94(1):78-87. doi: 10.1007/s00223-013-9807-6. Epub 2013 Oct 8.


Throughout life, a balance exists within the marrow cavity between adipose tissue and bone. Each tissue derives from a common progenitor cell known both as a "bone marrow-derived multipotent stromal cell" and as a "mesenchymal stem cell" (BMSC). The majority of in vitro and in vivo data suggest that BMSCs differentiate into adipocytes or osteoblasts in a reciprocal manner. For example, while ligand induction of the transcription factors peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ initiates BMSC adipogenesis, it suppresses osteogenesis. Nevertheless, this hypothesis may oversimplify a complex regulatory paradigm. The picture may be further complicated by the systemic impact of extramedullary adipose depots on bone via the secretion of protein adipokines and lipid metabolites. This review focuses on past and current literature examining the mechanisms governing the adipose-bone interface.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors