Diseases and Disorders

The Importance of Bone Marrow and Its Functions

Last updated on November 12th, 2022 at 12:31 pm

In the human body, the bones of the skeletal system serve many important functions for the body, from giving your body support to allowing you to move. Bone marrow is a spongy substance that is found in the middle of your bones and they are usually present in the hard bones, such as the hip and thigh bones. There are two types of bone marrow: red and yellow are very crucial for one’s survival. Any disease or infection affecting the functional effectiveness of the bone marrow may be fatal and risky.

What is Red Bone Marrow?

The fibrous tissue that makes up red bone marrow, also known as myeloid tissue, contains hematopoietic cells, or blood-forming stem cells. All red blood cells and platelets, as well as 60 percent to 70 percent of white blood cells, are generated in red bone marrow in adults.

The rest of the early white blood cells, known as lymphocytes, begin their development in the red bone marrow and mature in various regions of the body, such as the thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes.

What is Yellow Bone Marrow?

Mesenchymal or marrow stromal cells live in yellow bone marrow, which is fatter. These are the stem cells that give rise to the connective tissues of the body, such as fat, cartilage, muscle, and bone.

Fat and nutrients are also stored in yellow bone marrow for red bone marrow to use and maintain body functions. Yellow bone marrow can convert into red bone marrow and take over the function of red bone marrow when the body is stressed, such as during an infection or acute blood loss. Bone marrow performs many critical tasks in the body, and when there is a problem with its production or function, the consequences are vast.

In the human body, bone marrow is a very important function, as they generate millions of blood cells daily. The red bone marrow is involved in hematopoiesis and these stem cells are found in the red bone marrow and can develop into a variety of different blood cells, including:

  • Red Blood Cells: These cells carry oxygen-rich blood to the cells of the body and hence are very important
  • Platelets: They play a very crucial role in helping the blood clot and also prevent uncontrolled bleeding.
  • White Blood Cells: In the human body, there are several types of white blood cells and they all work to help the body fight off infections

In certain situations, some conditions may trigger additional production of blood cells. This may happen when the oxygen content of the body tissues is low, if there is a loss of blood, anemia, or a decrease in the amount of red blood cells. In these kinds of situations, the kidneys produce and release erythropoietin, which is a hormone that stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

Infections cause the bone marrow to generate and release more white blood cells, whereas bleeding causes it to produce and release more platelets. The yellow bone marrow activates and turns into red bone marrow when a person loses a lot of blood. As a result, the bone marrow in the human body must be in good working order because it is involved in so many other tasks.

The Functions of Bone Marrow

Bone marrow is important for the body because it produces bone marrow stem cells and blood products. Hematopoiesis is the process by which the bone marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It is divided into two varieties, each of which serves a distinct purpose.

The primary function of bone marrow is to produce different cells that are vital for sustaining. A lot of factors and circumstances can affect the health of the bone marrow and cause damage or impair its ability to produce a normal amount of healthy cells. The red blood cells, platelets, and most of the white blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow. The yellow bone marrow produces fat, cartilage, and bone.

  • It replaces non-functional bone marrow that has been damaged because of certain health conditions a person might face
  • Restore the bone marrow’s function after it has been damaged because of treatments such as high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • It prevents further damage caused by certain genetic diseases in certain cases
  • The bone marrow also regenerates the immune system in order to fight existing or residual cancers such as leukemia

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Importance of Bone Marrow

Bone marrow is important to the body as it makes up cells that make up the immune system and the stem cells that produce blood cells in the body. Stem cells in the bone marrow mature in the body into a variety of types of cells, each of which has specific functions that benefit the body.

As one ages, the red bone marrow is gradually replaced with yellow bone marrow. By adulthood, the red bone marrow can be found only in a few bones, including:

  • Skull
  • Vertebrae
  • Sternum
  • Ribs
  • The ends of the upper arm bone
  • Pelvis
  • The ends of the thigh bone
  • The ends of the shin bone

Here are some issues that can occur within bone marrow, as well as because of problems with bone marrow:

  • Leukemia: Leukemia is a blood malignancy in which the bone marrow generates aberrant white blood cells.
  • Aplastic anemia: Aplastic anemia is a condition in which the bone marrow stops producing red blood cells.
  • Myeloproliferative disorders: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), polycythemia vera primary myelofibrosis, essential thrombocytopenia, chronic neutrophilic leukemia, and chronic eosinophilic leukemia are examples of myeloproliferative diseases. These illnesses influence the generation of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
  • Lymphoma: Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphocytes and affects the immune system.

The bone marrow is an important part of the body that produces many blood cells. Losing bone marrow can have a negative impact on an individual’s quality of life and lifespan.

A bone marrow transplant may be required when the doses of chemotherapy or radiation required to cure a malignancy are so high that the treatment permanently damages or destroys a person’s bone marrow stem cells. If the bone marrow has been destroyed by a disease, bone marrow transplants may be required.

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