What Is the Function of Bone Marrow?

A diagram of the anatomy of a bone, showing the bone marrow.
Red blood cells are produced in bone marrow.
Article Details
  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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The bones consist of a hard outer shell, used to provide structure for the body and to protect the internal tissue of the bone, called bone marrow. This flexible group of cells contains several different types of minute units, including immature cells which contribute to the overall well-being of the body. The function of bone marrow is to produce new blood cells and play a key role in the body’s lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is an integral part of the body’s immune system. It is responsible for the removal of waste from the body as well as the delivery of necessary nutrients to different cells. This system is also an important pathogen killer, a microorganism that causes illnesses and diseases. The function of bone marrow in the body’s ability to suppress illness comes from marrow’s ability to produce lymphocytes or white blood cells from the underdeveloped cells located inside of it. These white blood cells are crucial in the fight against foreign invaders.

These underdeveloped cells, also referred to as stem cells, play an important role in the role of bone marrow because of their ability to become red blood cells or platelets. Red blood cells are essential in transporting nutrients such as oxygen through the body. Platelets are transparent sections of cells that aid in the clotting of the blood, the body’s protective response against the loss of blood.

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It is this ability to differentiate according to an individual’s needs which makes stem cells, and thus the function of bone marrow, an invaluable part of healing within the body. Stem cells may also be removed and donated. This is performed by a technique called harvesting. This procedure where stem cells are removed typically from the hip area can aid in the replacement of cells damaged by certain disease processes in another individual. They are also a key component in the study of normal growth and the identification and detection of some birth defects.

When a disease or medical condition is present that disturbs the internal tissue of bones, the function of the bone marrow can be affected. For example, leukemia is a form of cancer affecting the bone marrow which triggers the abnormal formation of white blood cells. Treatment for a disorder influencing the normal function of bone marrow is dependent on its severity. In extreme cases, a bone marrow transplant may be necessary to restore proper functioning of the marrow. This is a procedure where unhealthy or ill-functioning marrow is replaced by healthy tissue to assist in regaining health.

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Glasis
Post 2

As you mentioned, Certlerant, there are two basic methods of marrow donation.

The second method does involve surgery, performed under anesthesia, generally on an outpatient basis.

In this surgery, the marrow is drawn by needle from the donor's pelvic bone.

The recovery for both methods is about the same. Most people can resume normal activities within a week of donation.

Certlerant
Post 1
The process involved for a bone marrow donor is not as difficult as most people think.

The most common of two ways to donate does not even involve surgery.

Instead, a series of shots is given to the donor. These shots increase the number of cells in your blood.

The blood is then taken through a needle in the arm. That blood is filtered through a special machine and returned to the donor's body.

The shots are given for a period of five days before the donation. Most donors recover in about 10 days.

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