March 29, 2016 — Scientists at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) report that dietary intake determines the balance between fat formation and bone formation in adult bone marrow. The team led by Dr. Sean Morrison, CRI Director and Professor of Pediatrics, found that leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells in response to food consumption, acts directly on stem cells in the bone marrow to promote the formation of fat cells at the expense of bone.
“This discovery settles a longstanding controversy in this field over the mechanisms underlying the reciprocal relationship between fat and bone,” Dr. Morrison said.
Dr. Morrison is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics at UT Southwestern, the director of the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology, and a CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research.
The research was supported by the Damon Runyan Cancer Research Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Heart Association, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and donors to the Children’s Medical Center Foundation.
The study was published in Cell Stem Cell.