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The relationship between bone marrow adipose tissue and bone metabolism in postmenopausal osteoporosis

Li J1, Chen X1, Lu L2, Yu X3.

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2020 Feb 10.. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2020.02.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Postmenopausal osteoporosis (PMOP) is a prevalent skeletal disorder associated with menopause-related estrogen withdrawal. PMOP is characterized by low bone mass, deterioration of the skeletal microarchitecture, and subsequent increased susceptibility to fragility fractures, thus contributing to disability and mortality. Accumulating evidence indicates that abnormal expansion of marrow adipose tissue (MAT) plays a crucial role in the onset and progression of PMOP, in part because both bone marrow adipocytes and osteoblasts share a common ancestor lineage. The cohabitation of MAT adipocytes, mesenchymal stromal cells, hematopoietic cells, osteoblasts and osteoclasts in the bone marrow creates a microenvironment that permits adipocytes to act directly on other cell types in the marrow. Furthermore, MAT, which is recognized as an endocrine organ, regulates bone remodeling through the secretion of adipokines and cytokines. Although an enhanced MAT volume is linked to low bone mass and fractures in PMOP, the detailed interactions between MAT and bone metabolism remain largely unknown. In this review, we examine the possible mechanisms of MAT expansion under estrogen withdrawal and further summarize emerging findings regarding the pathological roles of MAT in bone remodeling. We also discuss the current therapies targeting MAT in osteoporosis. A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between MAT expansion and bone metabolism in estrogen deficiency conditions will provide new insights into potential therapeutic targets for PMOP.