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BMC Genomics. 2011 May 5;12:212. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-12-212.

Characterization of age-related gene expression profiling in bone marrow and epididymal adipocytes.

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Division of Endocrinology, Stanford University, CA 94305-5103, USA.



While an increase in bone marrow adiposity is associated with age-related bone disease, the function of bone marrow adipocytes has not been studied. The aim of this study was to characterize and compare the age-related gene expression profiles in bone marrow adipocytes and epididymal adipocytes.


A total of 3918 (13.7%) genes were differentially expressed in bone marrow adipocytes compared to epididymal adipocytes. Bone marrow adipocytes revealed a distinct gene profile with low expression of adipocyte-specific genes peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), perilipin (Plin1), adipsin (CFD) and high expression of genes associated with early adipocyte differentiation (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPβ), regulator of G-protein signaling 2 (RGS2). In addition, a number of genes including secreted frizzled related protein 4 (SFRP4), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), transforming growth factor beta 1(TGFβ1), G-protein coupled receptor 109A (GPR109A) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), that could affect adipose-derived signaling to bone are markedly increased in bone marrow adipocytes. Age had a substantial effect on genes associated with mitochondria function and inflammation in bone marrow adipocytes. Twenty seven genes were significantly changed with age in both adipocyte depots. Among these genes, IL6 and GPR109A were significantly reduced with age in both adipocyte depots.


Overall, gene profiling reveals a unique phenotype for primary bone marrow adipocytes characterized by low adipose-specific gene expression and high expression of inflammatory response genes. Bone marrow and epididymal adipocytes share a common pathway in response to aging in mice, but age has a greater impact on global gene expression in epididymal than in bone marrow adipocytes. Genes that are differentially expressed at greater levels in the bone marrow are highly regulated with age.

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