Inside out: Bone marrow adipose tissue as a source of circulating adiponectin

Erica L. Scheller, Aaron A. Burr, Ormond A. MacDougald, William P. Cawthorn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The adipocyte-derived hormone adiponectin mediates beneficial cardiometabolic effects, and hypoadiponectinemia is a biomarker for increased metabolic and cardiovascular risk. Indeed, circulating adiponectin decreases in obesity and insulin-resistance, likely because of impaired production from white adipose tissue (WAT). Conversely, lean states such as caloric restriction (CR) are characterized by hyperadiponectinemia, even without increased adiponectin production from WAT. The reasons underlying this paradox have remained elusive, but our recent research suggests that CR-associated hyperadiponectinemia derives from an unexpected source: bone marrow adipose tissue (MAT). Herein, we elaborate on this surprising discovery, including further discussion of potential mechanisms influencing adiponectin production from MAT; additional evidence both for and against our conclusions; and observations suggesting that the relationship between MAT and adiponectin might extend beyond CR. While many questions remain, the burgeoning study of MAT promises to reveal further key insights into MAT biology, both as a source of adiponectin and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-269
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016


  • adiponectin
  • anorexia nervosa
  • bone marrow adipose tissue
  • caloric restriction
  • lipodystrophy
  • obesity
  • white adipose tissue


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