Adrenal Cortex Development and Maintenance: Knowledge Acquired From Mouse Models.

Endocrinology
Nour Abou Nader, Alexandre Boyer

Abstract

The adrenal cortex is an endocrine organ organized into concentric zones that are specialized to produce specific steroid hormones essential for life. The development and maintenance of the adrenal cortex are complex, as a fetal adrenal is first formed from a common primordium with the gonads, followed by its separation in a distinct primordium, the invasion of the adrenal primordium by neural crest-derived cells to form the medulla, and finally its encapsulation. The fetal cortex is then replaced by a definitive cortex, which will establish zonation and be maintained throughout life by regeneration relying on the proliferation, centripetal migration, and differentiation of several stem/progenitor cell populations whose activities are sex-specific. Here, we highlight the advances made, using transgenic mouse models, to delineate the molecular mechanisms regulating these processes.

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