The skeleton harbors an array of lineage cells that have an essential role in whole body homeostasis. Adipocytes start the colonization of marrow space early in postnatal life, expanding progressively and influencing other components of the bone marrow through paracrine signaling. In this unique, closed, and hypoxic environment close to the endosteal surface and adjacent to the microvascular space the marrow adipocyte can store or provide energy, secrete adipokines, and target neighboring bone cells. Adipocyte progenitors can also migrate from the bone marrow to populate white adipose tissue, a process that accelerates during weight gain. The marrow adipocyte also has an endocrine role in whole body homeostasis through its varied secretome that targets distant adipose depots, skeletal muscle, and the nervous system. Further insights into the biology of this unique and versatile cell will undoubtedly lead to novel therapeutic approaches to metabolic and age-related disorders such as osteoporosis and diabetes mellitus.
Keywords: adipokines; bone; energy metabolism; marrow adipose tissue; osteoblast.
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