What is it about?

Fat in the bone marrow is poorly understood. This is the first study to show that short-term increases in dietary fat increased marrow fat (similar to the increase in other fat stores) and that this can be mitigated by exercise.

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Why is it important?

•High fat diet (HFD) increases marrow adipose tissue (MAT) similar to diet effect on visceral white fat depots. •Running exercise significantly prevents MAT accumulation in regular diet and HFD-fed mice. •Exercise limitation of MAT is associated with an increase in bone quantity. •Reliable quantification and visualization of MAT in the mouse femur is demonstrated via osmium stain and volumetric micro-CT image analysis.


We’re in the infancy of understanding the metabolic role of bone marrow fat. Marrow fat is derived from the stem cell that gives rise to muscle and bone cells and therefore this work will further our ability to improve musculoskeletal health. This study established that diet and exercise regulate this fat depot, i​mproving the understanding of its physiologic purpose. Moreover, we applied novel image analysis methodology to quantify marrow fat in 3D, enabling precise quantification of fat in the bone.

Dr Maya Styner
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Bone marrow fat accumulation accelerated by high fat diet is suppressed by exercise, Bone, July 2014, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2014.03.044.
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