Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that has many downstream health effects, including musculoskeletal diseases such as arthritis and bone disease. It is not yet fully understood what the mechanisms are that lead to these conditions however it is believed that changes in the function of immune cells in the body may lead to these effects. The microbiome of obese individuals may also impact immune cell function.
Scientists recently published a study looking at the impact that diet and obesity had on the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) system. They induced a short term obesity as a result of diet in mice. They found that a high fat diet (HFD) altered the bone microenvironment and as a result the HSC niche. The HSC niche which is made up of cells of the osteoblastic lineage that give rise to bone-forming cells seemed to be altered as a result of Gram-positive bacteria in the microbiome.
These changes to the HSC system in the bone marrow as a result of microbiome have important implications for understanding obesity induced bone disease. Altering microbiome composition, and specifically by low-fat diet, may be a possible therapeutic modality for treating bone disease and other immune diseases impacted by the hematopoietic stem cell niche.