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Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Dec;10(12):737-48. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2014.169. Epub 2014 Oct 14.

Obesity-driven disruption of haematopoiesis and the bone marrow niche.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Bioengineering Building, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5281, USA.
Department of Medicine, Health Sciences Centre, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8430, USA.


Obesity markedly increases susceptibility to a range of diseases and simultaneously undermines the viability and fate selection of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and thus the kinetics of leukocyte production that is critical to innate and adaptive immunity. Considering that blood cell production and the differentiation of HSCs and their progeny is orchestrated, in part, by complex interacting signals emanating from the bone marrow microenvironment, it is not surprising that conditions that disturb bone marrow structure inevitably disrupt both the numbers and lineage-fates of these key blood cell progenitors. In addition to the increased adipose burden in visceral and subcutaneous compartments, obesity causes a marked increase in the size and number of adipocytes encroaching into the bone marrow space, almost certainly disturbing HSC interactions with neighbouring cells, which include osteoblasts, osteoclasts, mesenchymal cells and endothelial cells. As the global obesity pandemic grows, the short-term and long-term consequences of increased bone marrow adiposity on HSC lineage selection and immune function remain uncertain. This Review discusses the differentiation and function of haematopoietic cell populations, the principal physicochemical components of the bone marrow niche, and how this environment influences HSCs and haematopoiesis in general. The effect of adipocytes and adiposity on HSC and progenitor cell populations is also discussed, with the goal of understanding how obesity might compromise the core haematopoietic system.

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