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What is bone marrow?

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What is bone marrow?

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Kim Smith

Bone marrow is the soft spongy tissue that lies within the hollow interior of long bones. In adults, marrow in large bones produces new blood cells. Bone marrow forms around 4% of total body weight.

There are two types of bone marrow:

  • red marrow¬†that is responsible for producing red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets
  • yellow marrow¬†consisting mainly of fat cells

There are a number of blood vessels and capillaries traversing through the marrow making it a very vascular organ.

At birth and in early childhood most of the marrow is red. As a person ages more and more of it is converted to the yellow type. About half of adult bone marrow is red.

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Bone marrow tissue, found in the hollow centre of our long bones, is the factory where new blood cells are made. Without it, our bodies would be unable to produce the white cells needed to fight infection, or red blood cells which carry oxygen and platelets are required to stop bleeding.

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Bone marrow is a spongy substance that runs along the inside of your long bones and acts as a “factory” for making blood cells. By looking at a sample of your marrow under the microscope, your haematologist will get a good picture of your blood-making mechanism.

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Bone marrow is the tissue found in the soft centre of your bones. It manufactures red blood cells (which carry oxygen), white blood cells (which fight infection), and platelets (which help to stop bleeding).

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Bone marrow is a special, spongy, fatty tissue that houses stem cells, located inside a few large bones. These stem cells transform themselves into white and red blood cells and platelets, essential for immunity and circulation. Anemia, leukemia, and other lymphoma cancers can compromise the resilience of bone marrow. Bone marrow transplants are a growing treatment for these conditions of the lymphatic system that can’t be otherwise cured. Our skull, sternum, ribs, pelvis, and femur bones all contain bone marrow, but other smaller bones do not. Inside this special tissue, immature stems cells reside, along with extra iron. While they are undifferentiated, the stem cells wait until unhealthy, weakened, or damaged cells need to be replaced. A stem cell can turn itself into a platelet, a white blood cell like a T-cell, or a red blood cell. This is the only way such cells get replaced to keep our body healthy. Platelets always circulate in our bloodstream, looking for tiny tears in blood v

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