Fascinating facts about bone marrow
What is bone marrow? -
Found inside the bones, marrow is a spongy material that contains stem cells.
Two types of bone marrow -
In may surprise you to learn that there are two types of bone marrow: red and yellow.
Red bone marrow -
Red bone marrow contains blood stem cells that can become red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets.
Yellow bone marrow -
Yellow bone marrow is made mostly of fat and contains stem cells that can become cartilage, fat, or bone cells.
Vital functions -
These cells play different but very important functions in keeping the body healthy and strong.
Blood cell production -
Human bone marrow produces approximately 500 billion blood cells per day.
The human body -
Bone marrow comprises approximately 5% of total body mass in healthy adult humans.
Where is bone marrow located? -
Bone marrow is primarily located in the vertebrae, hips, breastbone, ribs, and skull, and at the ends of the long bones of the arm and leg.
Bone marrow diseases and disorders - In leukemia, a cancer of the blood, the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which develops when white blood cells called lymphocytes grow out of control.
Myelodysplastic syndromes -
Myelodysplastic syndromes are conditions that can occur when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow become abnormal.
Bone marrow transplant -
When it becomes necessary, a bone marrow transplant, also known as stem cell transplant, replaces damaged blood cells with healthy ones.
Matching donors to patients -
A transplant can only be carried out after doctors match donors to patients based on their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type.
A bone marrow transplant is not without its risks. Infections are likely in a patient with severe bone marrow suppression.
Other risks -
Nonfunctioning bone marrow can result in thrombocytopenia (low platelets) and anemia (low red blood cells)—both life-threatening conditions.
Donating bone marrow -
In theory, you can donate many times, since your body can replace lost bone marrow.
Is the donation process painful? - No. Around 70% of marrow donations use peripheral blood stem cell apheresis, a non-surgical procedure.
Donating is safe -
Donating bone marrow is safe: bone marrow donation requires less than 5% of marrow cells, and more than 35,000 people have donated bone marrow.