Within the skeleton there is an extensive population of adipocytes that are collectively referred to as the bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT). This chapter reviews the evolution of MAT nomenclature, from yellow marrow to marrow fat to MAT. It discusses how this shift has been driven by changes in the developing understanding of MAT’s function both within and beyond the skeleton. The osmium technique highlights the asymmetric distribution of the MAT within rodent bones, a point which must be carefully considered if one attempts quantification by serial histology in lieu of computed tomography (CT)-based techniques. Insulin resistance, estrogen depletion, increases in circulating glucocorticoids, and gonadal dysfunction may drive MAT expansion in metabolic disease. The leopard frog provides an intriguing example of the ability of MAT to undergo seasonal variation. MAT has been imaged with tools including PET, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and CT.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrimer on the Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781119266594
ISBN (Print)9781119266563
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Bone loss
  • Human bone marrow images
  • Marrow adipose tissue development
  • Marrow adipose tissue distribution
  • Marrow adipose tissue expansion
  • Marrow fat
  • Metabolic disease
  • Peripheral adipocytes
  • Site-specific variation


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