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Obesity is associated with increased risk for fragility fractures. However, the cellular mechanisms are unknown. Using a translational approach combining RNA sequencing and cellular analyses, we investigated bone marrow stromal stem cells (BM-MSCs) of 54 men divided into lean, overweight, and obese groups on the basis of BMI. Compared with BM-MSCs obtained from lean, obese BM-MSCs exhibited a shift of molecular phenotype toward committed adipocytic progenitors and increased expression of metabolic genes involved in glycolytic and oxidoreductase activity. Interestingly, compared with paired samples of peripheral adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (AT-MSCs), insulin signaling of obese BM-MSCs was enhanced and accompanied by increased abundance of insulin receptor positive (IR+) and leptin receptor positive (LEPR+) cells in BM-MSC cultures. Their hyper-activated metabolic state was accompanied by an accelerated senescence phenotype. Our data provide a plausible explanation for the bone fragility in obesity caused by enhanced insulin signaling leading to accelerated metabolic senescence of BM-MSCs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Reports
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2050-2062.e6
Publication statusPublished - 14. May 2019


  • adipogenesis
  • adipose-derived stem cells
  • bone marrow skeletal stem cells
  • differentiation potential
  • insulin signaling
  • obesity
  • skeletal fragility

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