Bone marrow - nonneoplastic
Age related changes

Author: Dragos Luca, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 6 July 2017, last major update September 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Bone marrow age related changes [title]

Cite this page: Age related changes. website. Accessed October 16th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Cellularity averages 79% at ages 0 - 9 years, 50% at ages 30 - 69 vs. 29% at ages 70 - 79
  • With aging, hematopoietic tissue is replaced by fat
  • Deeper medullary areas are typically more cellular than subcortical areas
  • B cell production declines with age (Curr Opin Immunol 2005;17:463) although the relative abundance of pro B, pre B, immature, naive and mature B cells usually does not change appreciably between ages 24 and 88 years
  • Occasional patients have exceptionally low numbers of lymphocyte precursors (Blood 2003;101:576)
  • Hypocellularity in elderly marrow may be due to increased apoptosis (Mech Ageing Dev 2000;117:57)
  • Usually no spicules in bone marrow aspiration from very young children, perhaps due to very low or absent fat content
Diagrams / tables

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Age related normal values in bone marrow

Gross images

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Fatty marrow

Microscopic (histologic) images

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6 month old child has highly cellular marrow (normal for age)

Adult marrow (ages 30 - 69 years)

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Adult marrow