Changes in the glomerulosa cell phenotype during adrenal regeneration in rats

William C Engeland, B. K. Levay-Young

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33 Scopus citations


In situ hybridization was used to examine cellular differentiation during rat adrenal regeneration, defining zona glomerulosa [cytochrome P-450 aldosterone synthase (P-450aldo) mRNA positive], zona fasciculata [cytochrome P-45011β-hydroxylase (P-45011β) mRNA positive], or zona intermedia [negative for both but 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) mRNA positive]. After unilateral adrenal enucleation with contralateral adrenalectomy (ULE/ULA), the expression of all mRNA was reduced at 2 days. From 5 to 10 days, P-45011β and 3β-HSD mRNA increased while P-450aldo remained low; at 20 days, all mRNA were increased. From 2 to 10 days, cells adjacent to the capsule showed intermedia cell differentiation; by 20 days, the subcapsular glomerulosa cells reappeared. This suggests that after enucleation the glomerulosa dedifferentiates to zona intermedia. The experiment was repeated in rats where the postenucleation ACTH rise was prevented. Rats underwent ULE with sham ULA (ULE/SULA) or ULE/SULA with ACTH treatment. Adrenals from ULE/SULA rats expressed increased P-450aldo mRNA at 10 days and reduced P-45011β mRNA and adrenal weight at 30 days. ACTH treatment reversed the pattern toward that seen in ULE/ULA. These findings show that the enucleation-induced dedifferentiation of the glomerulosa cell may result in part from elevated plasma ACTH and that prevention of dedifferentiation may result in impaired regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1374-R1382
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 45-5
StatePublished - May 1999


  • Adrenal cortex
  • Adrenal enucleation
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Cytochrome P-450 aldosterone synthase


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