Studies dealing with the number or size of individual adipose cells in abnormal human bone marrow are lacking. To ascertain whether variations in fat tissue fraction depend on the size of individual adipocytes or their number or both, a stereologic study of 30 human bone marrow specimens (10 with aplasia, 10 with hyperplasia, and 10 with dysplasia) was performed. A total of 23,435 adipocyte profiles were measured and two stereologic parameters were obtained in each specimen: mean diameter and number of cells per mm3 of bone marrow. The fat tissue fraction correlated positively with the size (r = .79; P less than .001) and the number/volume (r = .77; P less than .001) of adipocytes. The significance of both adipocyte size and adipocyte number/volume was confirmed by stepwise multiple regression, in which the size alone explained 62.5% of fat tissue fraction and both size and number/volume explained 95.8% of fat tissue fraction. These results are discussed from a pathophysiologic point of view.

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