Bones make up the skeletal system and serve the important function of giving the body support to be able to move. What’s inside the bones also is essential to personal health.
Bone marrow can be found in the center of bones. According to the online wellness resource Healthline, this viscous or spongy tissue comes in two types: red or yellow bone marrow. Both have specific functions in the body.
Red bone marrow
Red bone marrow is essential for a process called hematopoiesis, or blood cell production. Hematopoietic stem cells in the red bone marrow can develop into key blood cells, including red blood cells, which carry oxygen-rich blood to the body; platelets, which help blood to clot; and white blood cells, which are involved in immune system responses.
Yellow bone marrow
Yellow bone marrow is involved with the storage of fats. These fats can be used as an energy source as needed. Yellow bone marrow also contains mesenchymal stem cells that can develop into bone, fat, muscle, or cartilage cells.
Over time, yellow bone marrow replaces red bone marrow in most of the bones in the adult body. Only a few bones, such as the pelvis, skull, vertebrae, and ribs, will contain red bone marrow into adulthood.
According to Medical News Today, bone marrow makes more than 200 billion new blood cells every day. Most blood cells in the body develop from bone marrow cells.
Bone marrow conditions
Issues with bone marrow can produce a host of side effects. Fatigue or weakness, fever, increased infections, easy bleeding and bruising, and specific conditions like leukemia and anemia can develop as a result of bone marrow-related problems. In some cases, a bone marrow transplant may be needed to replace diseased or nonfunctioning bone marrow. It also may help regenerate a new immune system that can fight leukemia or other cancers.
Bone marrow transplants also may involve replacing existing bone marrow with genetically healthy bone marrow to prevent future damage from certain genetic diseases, according to Medical News Today. Bone marrow transplants can come from one’s own stem cells, a twin, a sibling, parent, or an unrelated donor. Marrow transplants also may come from stored umbilical cord blood.
Bone marrow is vital to the overall health and function of the human body. Bone marrow affects just about every other cell due to its unique relationship with blood production and immune function.