Patients who have had rigorous chemotherapy sessions or bone marrow transplantation needs a quick  bone marrow restoration. But researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have observed through their studies that fat cells (adipocytes) inhibits the stem cells ability to produce blood cells within bone marrow.

Researchers found that the relatively fat-rich tail bones had only 25 percent as many blood-forming stem cells and up to three times fewer specialized blood progenitors than did the leaner thoracic vertebrae.

The study shows that the mere presence of adipocytes (fat cells) could reduce proliferation of blood-forming stem cells and seemed to somehow slow the natural cell cycle of the blood stem cells and progenitor cells.

Present study contradicts the previous dilemma that whether fat cells simply fills the empty spaces of the marrow. The study proves that fat cells actively suppress blood production and make it hard to have a faster recovery from chemo or radiation.

Hence researchers suggests that if fat cell could be eliminated from bone marrow or could possible to inhibit the formation of fat cells then patients might be able to recover faster from marrow and cord-blood transplants.

It is found that mice that were treated with a compound that inhibits fat formation, or that were genetically incapable of forming fat cells, were

  • quicker to build up their bone marrow after it was depleted by irradiation.
  • quicker to build up the rapidly proliferating blood cell progenitors that are known in mice – as well as humans – to be the most important in surviving the immediate post-transplant period.

Researchers are now testing

  • whether anti obesity drugs have a positive effect on blood formation in mice.
  • And how exactly adipocytes inhibit blood formation at the molecular level.

The study was published online June 10 by the journal Nature.

Researchers involved:

Lead researcherGeorge Q. Daley, MD, PhD, director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Children’s,

Olaia Naveiras, MD, PhD, of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’s and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The study was funded by the Barrie de la Maza Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Source: ScienceDaily