Soft, gelatinous tissue that fills bone cavities. Red bone marrow contains stem cells, progenitor cells, percursor cells, and functional blood cells (see reticuloendothelial system). Lymphocytes mature in the lymphoid organs (see lymphoid tissue). All other blood-cell formation occurs in red marrow, which also takes part in destruction of old erythrocytes (red blood cells). Yellow bone marrow mainly stores fats. Because the leukocytes (white blood cells) produced in bone marrow are involved in immune defenses, marrow transplants can treat some types of immunodeficiency. Radiation and some anticancer drugs can damage marrow and impair immunity. Bone-marrow examination helps diagnose diseases related to blood and blood-forming organs.
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