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Subchondral bone and marrow adipose tissue: The underlying cause of osteoarthritis?

The increasing prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic degenerative joint disease, is directly linked to the rising rates of obesity. Consequently, there is a growing interest in investigating the mechanisms that connect structural joint degeneration to obesity. One crucial aspect of these studies involves understanding how factors derived from adipose tissue depots contribute to tissue remodeling in OA, including pathological subchondral bone formation. Recently, researchers have highlighted the pivotal role of bone marrow adipocytes in regulating bone turnover and remodeling. Surprisingly, subchondral bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT) has long been considered an inert fat depot, leaving the contribution of marrow adipocytes to OA largely unexplored. Here, I will report on our research on the dynamic interplay between BMAT and OA that may open new avenues for therapeutic interventions, challenging conventional paradigms of OA etiology. 


Jeroen Geurts is a principal investigator for translational research and  clinical study coordinator at the Rheumatology Unit of the Lausanne  University Hospital in Switzerland. He is also associate editor for basic science at Osteoarthritis & Cartilage. His research focuses on the role of subchondral bone marrow adipose tissue in regulating pathological bone remodeling in human osteoarthritis. He is the co-chair of the European Calcified Tissue Society Academy and executive board member of the Swiss Bone and Mineral Society and international Bone Marrow Adiposity Society.

IPHYS contact person: Michaela Tencerová,