Current Osteoporosis Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 235–242 | Cite as

Fat and Bone Interactions

  • Sandra Bermeo
  • Krishanthi Gunaratnam
  • Gustavo DuqueEmail author
Hot Topic


Fat and bone have a complicated relationship. Although obesity has been associated with low fracture risk, there is increasing evidence that some of the factors that are released by peripheral fat into the circulation may also have a deleterious effect on bone mass, thus, predisposing to fractures. More importantly, the local interaction between fat and bone within the bone marrow seems to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of age-related bone loss and osteoporosis. This “local interaction” occurs inside the bone marrow and is associated with the autocrine and paracrine release of fatty acids and adipokines, which affect the cells in their vicinity including the osteoblasts, reducing their function and survival. In this review, we explore the particularities of the fat and bone cell interactions within the bone marrow, their significance in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis, and the potential therapeutic applications that regulating marrow fat may have in the near future as a novel pharmacologic treatment for osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis Fat Bone Adipocytes Osteoblasts Osteoclasts Osteocytes Mesenchymal stem cells Lamin A Aging Fractures Osteoporosis RUNX2 PPARγ BMP SMADs β-catenin 



The authors’ research cited in this review has been funded by project grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia (Grants 632766 and 632767) and the Nepean Medical Research Foundation. The authors would like to thank PR Ebeling of the University of Melbourne and EF Eriksen of Oslo University Hospital for their review of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

S. Bermeo declares no conflicts of interest.

K. Gunaratnam declares no conflicts of interest.

G. Duque declares no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All studies by the authors involving animal subjects were performed after approval by the appropriate institutional review boards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Bermeo
    • 1
  • Krishanthi Gunaratnam
    • 1
  • Gustavo Duque
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Ageing Bone Research Program, Sydney Medical School NepeanThe University of SydneyPenrithAustralia

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