Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 78–87 | Cite as

Adipocytes and the Regulation of Bone Remodeling: A Balancing Act

  • Mark E. Nuttall
  • Forum Shah
  • Vikramjeet Singh
  • Caasy Thomas-Porch
  • Trivia Frazier
  • Jeffrey M. Gimble


Throughout life, a balance exists within the marrow cavity between adipose tissue and bone. Each tissue derives from a common progenitor cell known both as a “bone marrow-derived multipotent stromal cell” and as a “mesenchymal stem cell” (BMSC). The majority of in vitro and in vivo data suggest that BMSCs differentiate into adipocytes or osteoblasts in a reciprocal manner. For example, while ligand induction of the transcription factors peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ initiates BMSC adipogenesis, it suppresses osteogenesis. Nevertheless, this hypothesis may oversimplify a complex regulatory paradigm. The picture may be further complicated by the systemic impact of extramedullary adipose depots on bone via the secretion of protein adipokines and lipid metabolites. This review focuses on past and current literature examining the mechanisms governing the adipose–bone interface.


Adipocyte Bone marrow cell Gene transcription regulation Mesenchymal stem cell Osteoblast 



The authors thank Ms. Laura Dallam for administrative and editorial assistance in the preparation of this manuscript. Jeffrey M. Gimble is the cofounder and chief scientific officer of LaCell, a for-profit biotechnology company focusing on the use of adipose stromal/stem cells for research and therapeutic applications.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark E. Nuttall
    • 1
  • Forum Shah
    • 2
  • Vikramjeet Singh
    • 2
  • Caasy Thomas-Porch
    • 2
    • 3
  • Trivia Frazier
    • 2
  • Jeffrey M. Gimble
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Janssen PharmaceuticalsTitusvilleUSA
  2. 2.Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research CenterLouisiana State University SystemBaton RougeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical SciencesTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative MedicineTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  5. 5.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryLouisiana State University Health Science CenterNew OrleansUSA

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