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Yellow Bone Marrow
Skeletal System

Yellow Bone Marrow

Medulla ossium flava

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Quick Facts

Yellow bone marrow is ordinary bone marrow of the kind in which the fat cells predominate (Dorland, 2011).

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Yellow bone marrow is formed in the medullary cavity of mature bones. As the required rate of blood formation decreases, so too does the red hematopoietic tissue. The red marrow is infiltrated with adipocytes. The adipocytes are responsible for its yellow appearance (Kierszenbaum, 2007). In long bones the majority of marrow tissue is yellow by early adulthood.

Anatomical Relations

Bone marrow sits in the central medullary cavity of bones and sits alongside the medullary vessels which provide vascular supply to the bone.


Yellow bone marrow is indicative of a reduced capacity for blood formation, however; in cases of trauma and severe blood loss, it is capable of reverting to red marrow.


Dorland, W. (2011) Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd edn. Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier Saunders.

Kierszenbaum, A. L. (2007) Histology and Cell Biology: An Introduction to Pathology. Mosby Elsevier.

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