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Papers of the Month

March 2018  Development of a 3D bone marrow adipose tissue model.

Heather FairfieldCarolyne FalankMariah FarrellCalvinVaryJoshua M. Boucher, HeatherDriscollLucy LiawClifford J. RosenMichaela R. Reagan. Bone. 2018 Jan 26. pii: S8756-3282(18)30023-1. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2018.01.023.

Over the past twenty years, evidence has accumulated that biochemically and spatially defined networks of extracellular matrix, cellular components, and interactions dictate cellular differentiation, proliferation, and function in a variety of tissue and diseases. Modeling in vivo systems in vitro has been undeniably necessary, but when simplified 2D conditions rather than 3D in vitro models are used, the reliability and usefulness of the data derived from these models decreases. Thus, there is a pressing need to develop and validate reliable in vitro models to reproduce specific tissue-like structures and mimic functions and responses of cells in a more realistic manner for both drug screening/disease modeling and tissue regeneration applications. In adipose biology and cancer research, these models serve as physiologically relevant 3D platforms to bridge the divide between 2D cultures and in vivo models, bringing about more reliable and translationally useful data to accelerate benchtop to bedside research. Currently, no model has been developed for bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT), a novel adipose depot that has previously been overlooked as “filler tissue” but has more recently been recognized as endocrine-signaling and systemically relevant. Herein we describe the development of the first 3D, BMAT model derived from either human or mouse bone marrow (BM) mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). We found that BMAT models can be stably cultured for at least 3 months in vitro, and that myeloma cells (5TGM1, OPM2 and MM1S cells) can be cultured on these for at least 2 weeks. Upon tumor cell co-culture, delipidation occurred in BMAT adipocytes, suggesting a bidirectional relationship between these two important cell types in the malignant BM niche. Overall, our studies suggest that 3D BMAT represents a “healthier,” more realistic tissue model that may be useful for elucidating the effects of MAT on tumor cells, and tumor cells on MAT, to identify novel therapeutic targets. In addition, proteomic characterization as well as microarray data (expression of >22,000 genes) coupled with KEGG pathway analysis and gene set expression analysis (GSEA) supported our development of less-inflammatory 3D BMAT compared to 2D culture. In sum, we developed the first 3D, tissue-engineered bone marrow adipose tissue model, which is a versatile, novel model that can be used to study numerous diseases and biological processes involved with the bone marrow.

February 2018   Characterization of the bone marrow adipocyte niche with three-dimensional electron microscopy

Hero Robles, Sung Jae Park, Matthew S. Joens, James A. J. Fitzpatrick, Clarissa S. Craft, Erica L. Scheller. Bone. 2018 Jan 27. pii: S8756-3282(18)30020-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2018.01.020. 

Unlike white and brown adipose tissues, the bone marrow adipocyte (BMA) exists in a microenvironment containing unique populations of hematopoietic and skeletal cells. To study this microenvironment at the sub-cellular level, we performed a three-dimensional analysis of the ultrastructure of the BMA niche with focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM). This revealed that BMAs display hallmarks of metabolically active cells including polarized lipid deposits, a dense mitochondrial network, and areas of endoplasmic reticulum. The distinct orientations of the triacylglycerol droplets suggest that fatty acids are taken up and/or released in three key areas – at the endothelial interface, into the hematopoietic milieu, and at the bone surface. Near the sinusoidal vasculature, endothelial cells send finger-like projections into the surface of the BMA which terminate near regions of lipid within the BMA cytoplasm. In some regions, perivascular cells encase the BMA with their flattened cellular projections, limiting contacts with other cells in the niche. In the hematopoietic milieu, BMAT adipocytes of the proximal tibia interact extensively with maturing cells of the myeloid/granulocyte lineage. Associations with erythroblast islands are also prominent. At the bone surface, the BMA extends organelle and lipid-rich cytoplasmic regions toward areas of active osteoblasts. This suggests that the BMA may serve to partition nutrient utilization between diverse cellular compartments, serving as an energy-rich hub of the stromal-reticular network. Lastly, though immuno-EM, we’ve identified a subset of bone marrow adipocytes that are innervated by the sympathetic nervous system, providing an additional mechanism for regulation of the BMA. In summary, this work reveals that the bone marrow adipocyte is a dynamic cell with substantial capacity for interactions with the diverse components of its surrounding microenvironment. These local interactions likely contribute to its unique regulation relative to peripheral adipose tissues.


January 2018   Acute myeloid leukaemia disrupts endogenous myelo-erythropoiesis by compromising the adipocyte bone marrow niche

Allison L. Boyd, Jennifer C. Reid, Kyle R. Salci, Lili Aslostovar, Yannick D. Benoit, Zoya, Mio Nakanishi, Deanna P. Porras, Mohammed Almakadi, Clinton J. V. Campbell, Michael F. , Catherine A. Ross, Ronan Foley, Brian Leber, David S. Allan, Mitchell Sabloff, Anargyros Xenocostas, Tony J. Collins and Mickie Bhatia. Nat Cell Biol. 2017 Nov;19(11):1336-1347. doi: 10.1038/ncb3625. Epub 2017 Oct 16

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is distinguished by the generation of dysfunctional leukaemic blasts, and patients characteristically suffer from fatal infections and anaemia due to insufficient normal myelo-erythropoiesis. Direct physical crowding of bone marrow (BM) by accumulating leukaemic cells does not fully account for this haematopoietic failure. Here, analyses from AML patients were applied to both in vitro co-culture platforms and in vivo xenograft modelling, revealing that human AML disease specifically disrupts the adipocytic niche in BM. Leukaemic suppression of BM adipocytes led to imbalanced regulation of endogenous haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, resulting in impaired myelo-erythroid maturation. In vivo administration of PPARγ agonists induced BM adipogenesis, which rescued healthy haematopoietic maturation while repressing leukaemic growth. Our study identifies a previously unappreciated axis between BM adipogenesis and normal myelo-erythroid maturation that is therapeutically accessible to improve symptoms of BM failure in AML via non-cell autonomous targeting of the niche.


December 2017   Clinical Implications of Bone Marrow Adiposity.

Veldhuis-Vlug AG, Rosen CJ J Intern Med. 2017 Dec 6. doi: 10.1111/joim.12718. 

Marrow adipocytes, collectively termed marrow adipose tissue (MAT), reside in the bone marrow in close contact to bone cells and hematopoietic cells. Marrow adipocytes arise from the mesenchymal stem cell and share their origin with the osteoblastst. Shifts in the lineage allocation of the mesenchymal stromal cell could potentially explain the association between increased MAT and increased fracture risk in diseases such as postmenopausal osteoporosis, anorexia nervosa and diabetes. Functionally, marrow adipocytes secrete adipokines, such as adiponectin, and cytokines, such as RANK-ligand and stem cell factor. These mediators can influence both boneremodeling and hematopoiesis by promoting bone resorption and hematopoietic recovery following chemotherapy. In addition, marrowadipocytes can secrete free fatty acids, acting as a energy supply for bone and hematopoietic cells. However, this induced lipolysis is also used by neoplastic cells to promote survival and proliferation. Therefore, MAT could represent a new therapeutic target for multiple diseases from osteoporosis to leukemia, although the exaxt characteristics and role of the marrow adipocyte in health and diseases remains to be determined. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

November 2017      Bone Marrow Fat Changes After Gastric Bypass Surgery Are Associated With Loss of Bone Mass.

Kim TY, Schwartz AV, Li X, Xu K, Black DM, Petrenko DM, Stewart L, Rogers SJ, Posselt AM, Carter JT, Shoback DM, Schafer A  J Bone Miner Res. 2017 Nov;32(11):2239-2247. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3212. Epub 2017 Aug 9.

Bone marrow fat is a unique fat depot that may regulate bone metabolism. Marrow fat is increased in states of low bone mass, severe underweight, and diabetes. However, longitudinal effects of weight loss and improved glucose homeostasis on marrow fat are unclear, as is the relationship between marrow fat and bone mineral density (BMD) changes. We hypothesized that after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass(RYGB) surgery, marrow fat changes are associated with BMD loss. We enrolled 30 obese women, stratified by diabetes status. Before and 6 months after RYGB, we measured BMD by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and quantitative computed tomography (QCT) and vertebral marrow fat content by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. At baseline, those with higher marrow fat had lower BMD. Postoperatively, total body fat declined dramatically in all participants. Effects of RYGB on marrow fat differed by diabetes status (p = 0.03). Nondiabetic women showed no significant mean change in marrow fat (+1.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] -1.8% to +5.4%, p = 0.29), although those who lost more total body fat were more likely to have marrow fat increases (r = -0.70, p = 0.01). In contrast, diabetic women demonstrated a mean marrow fat change of -6.5% (95% CI -13.1% to 0%, p = 0.05). Overall, those with greater improvements in hemoglobin A1c had decreases in marrow fat (r = 0.50, p = 0.01). Increases in IGF-1, a potential mediator of the marrow fat-bonerelationship, were associated with marrow fat declines (r = -0.40, p = 0.05). Spinal volumetric BMD decreased by 6.4% ± 5.9% (p < 0.01), and femoral neck areal BMD decreased by 4.3% ± 4.1% (p < 0.01). Marrow fat and BMD changes were negatively associated, such that those with marrow fat increases had more BMD loss at both spine (r = -0.58, p < 0.01) and femoral neck (r = -0.49, p = 0.01), independent of age and menopause. Our findings suggest that glucose metabolism and weight loss may influence marrow fat behavior, and marrow fat may be a determinant of bone metabolism.

October 2017 Bone marrow adipocytes promote the regeneration of stem cells and haematopoiesis by secreting SCF.

Zhou BO, Yu H, Yue R, Zhao Z, Rios JJ, Naveiras O, Morrison SJ  Nat Cell Biol. 2017 Aug;19(8):891-903. doi: 10.1038/ncb3570. Epub 2017 Jul 17.

Endothelial cells and leptin receptor+ (LepR+) stromal cells are critical sources of haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche factors, including stem cell factor (SCF), in bone marrow. After irradiation or chemotherapy, these cells are depleted while adipocytes become abundant. We discovered that bone marrow adipocytes synthesize SCF. They arise from Adipoq-Cre/ER+ progenitors, which represent ∼5% of LepR+ cells, and proliferate after irradiation. Scf deletion using Adipoq-Cre/ER inhibited haematopoietic regeneration after irradiation or 5-fluorouracil treatment, depleting HSCs and reducing mouse survival. Scf from LepR+ cells, but not endothelial, haematopoietic or osteoblastic cells, also promoted regeneration. In non-irradiated mice, Scf deletion using Adipoq-Cre/ER did not affect HSC frequency in long bones, which have few adipocytes, but depleted HSCs in tail vertebrae, which have abundant adipocytes. A-ZIP/F1 ‘fatless’ mice exhibited delayed haematopoietic regeneration in long bones but not in tail vertebrae, where adipocytes inhibited vascularization. Adipocytes are a niche component that promotes haematopoietic regeneration.

September 2017        Adipocyte Accumulation in the Bone Marrow during Obesity and Aging Impairs Stem Cell-Based Hematopoietic and Bone Regeneration.

Ambrosi TH, Scialdone A, Graja A, Gohlke S, Jank AM, Bocian C, Woelk L, Fan H, Logan DW, Schürmann A, Saraiva LR, Schulz TJ. Cell Stem Cell. 2017 Jun 1;20(6):771-784.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2017.02.009. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

Aging and obesity induce ectopic adipocyte accumulation in bone marrow cavities. This process is thought to impair osteogenic and hematopoietic regeneration. Here we specify the cellular identities of the adipogenic and osteogenic lineages of the bone. While aging impairs the osteogenic lineage, high-fat diet feeding activates expansion of the adipogenic lineage, an effect that is significantly enhanced in aged animals. We further describe a mesenchymal sub-population with stem cell-like characteristics that gives rise to both lineages and, at the same time, acts as a principal component of the hematopoietic niche by promoting competitive repopulation following lethal irradiation. Conversely, bone-resident cells committed to the adipocytic lineage inhibit hematopoiesis and bone healing, potentially by producing excessive amounts of Dipeptidyl peptidase-4, a protease that is a target of diabetes therapies. These studies delineate the molecular identity of the bone-resident adipocytic lineage, and they establish its involvement in age-dependent dysfunction of bone and hematopoietic regeneration.