For someone who is new to the field of bone marrow adiposity, the webinar by William Cawthorn gives a good introduction to the different types of adipose tissues and the metabolic and endocrine functions of bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT). To summarize briefly, there is white adipose tissue which is used for energy storage and release and acts as major endocrine organ, and there is brown adipose tissue which is responsible for thermogenesis and energy expenditure. The third type is the bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT) which was discovered over 100 years, it is absent at birth but develops during childhood. In adults BMAT accounts for up to 10% of total adipose mass, it acts as major source of the protein, adiponectin and it expands in certain conditions such as ageing and osteoporosis, obesity, glucocorticoid use and anorexia. The webinar explores further BMAT related factors which impact lipogenesis, lipolysis and glucose homeostasis. The webinar further showcases the speakers’ PET CT and MRI studies which allow the distinction between yellow and brown marrow and the analysis of BMAT metabolism in vivo.
The seminar then dives further into the functions of BMAT in particular on its impact on haematopoiesis and bone health including studies on adipocyte accumulation in the bone marrow and its impact on fracture repair. Prof Cawthorn presents the results of a new deep learning method by using UK Biobank MRI data for large-scale bone marrow fat fraction analysis. This method has the potential to identify further genetic and pathophysiological factors which are associated with altered BMAT.
In summary the webinar gives an excellent overview on the topic of bone marrow adiposity and highlights exciting novel methods and findings which may allow us to better understand the importance of BMAT in a clinical context.