Marrow adipose tissue (MAT) is functionally distinct from both white and brown adipose tissue and can contribute to systemic and skeletal metabolism. MAT formation is a spatially and temporally defined developmental event, suggesting that MAT is an organ that serves important functions and, like other organs, can undergo pathologic change. The well-documented inverse relationship between MAT and bone mineral density has been interpreted to mean that MAT removal is a possible therapeutic target for osteoporosis. However, the bone and metabolic phenotypes of patients with lipodystrophy argues that retention of MAT may actually be beneficial in some circumstances. Furthermore, MAT may exist in two forms, regulated and constitutive, with divergent responses to hematopoietic and nutritional demands. In this review, we discuss the role of MAT in lipodystrophy, bone loss, and metabolism, and highlight our current understanding of this unique adipose tissue depot.
- Marrow adipose tissue
- Marrow fat