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Yellow bone marrow

Recommended video: Bone tissue [12:46]
Bone is the basic unit of the human skeletal system.

The inner cavities of bones are filled with bone marrow. Both the medullary cavity and the spaces between trabeculae of spongy bone holds this soft spongy marrow tissue. Marrow can be red or yellow or a combination of both. Red bone marrow produces blood cells (red and white) and platelets while the main function of yellow bone marrow is adipose (fat) storage for energy production.

Yellow bone marrow consists of cells and blood vessels held within a connective tissue framework. The majority of cells found in yellow marrow are adipocytes (fat cells), though mesenchymal stem cells are also housed here. Mesenchymal stem cells are cells that can develop into cartilage, bone, fat or muscle cells, if needed. Over time, the red bone marrow in long bones is replaced by yellow bone marrow. However, yellow marrow can be converted back to blood cell producing red marrow if the body’s hematopoietic needs demand it.

Terminology English: Yellow bone marrow
Latin: Medulla flava ossis
Definition and function Yellow bone marrow is located in the cavities of long bones. It stores fat (adipocytes) and contains mesenchymal stem cells. Yellow bone marrow can convert to red marrow if needed.

Learn more about the anatomy of bones with this study unit:

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