Bone marrow is the tissue comprising the center of large bones. It is the place where new blood cells are produced. Bone marrow contains two types of stem cells: hemopoietic (which can produce blood cells) and stromal (which can produce fat, cartilage, and bone).
There are two types of bone marrow: red marrow (also known as myeloid tissue) and yellow marrow. Red blood cells, platelets, and most white blood cells arise in red marrow; some white blood cells develop in the yellow marrow. The color of yellow marrow is due to the much higher number of fat cells.
Both types of bone marrow contain numerous blood vessels and capillaries. At birth, all bone marrow is red. With age, more and more of it is converted to the yellow type. Adults have on average about 2.6kg (5.7lbs) of bone marrow, with about half of it being red.
Red marrow is found mainly in the flat bones such as hip bone, breast bone, skull, ribs, vertebrae and shoulder blades, and in the cancellous (“spongy”) material at the proximal ends of the long bones femur and humerus.
Pink Marrow is found in the hollow interior of the middle portion of long bones. There are several serious diseases involving bone marrow. In cases of severe blood loss, the body can convert yellow marrow back to red marrow in order to increase blood cell production.
The normal bone marrow architecture can be displaced by malignancies or infections such as tuberculosis, leading to a decrease in the production of blood cells and blood platelets. In addition, cancers of the hematologic progenitor cells in the bone marrow can arise; these are the leukemias.