SF-1, DAX-1, and ACD: Molecular determinants of adrenocortical growth and steroidogenesis

F. Beuschlein, C. E. Keegan, D. L. Bavers, C. Mutch, J. E. Hutz, S. Shah, Y. M. Ulrich-Lai, W. C. Engeland, B. Jeffs, J. L. Jameson, G. D. Hammer

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37 Scopus citations


The formation of the adrenal cortex in humans is notable for the presence of two discrete zones, the fetal zone (FZ) which regresses soon after birth and the definitive zone (DZ) which gives rise to the classic steroidogenic zones of the adult cortex. Mice possess an analogous structure to the FZ referred to as the X-zone (XZ) which regresses at puberty in the male and during the first pregnancy in the female. Similar to the human FZ in X-linked Congenital Adrenal Hypoplasia caused by loss of function mutations in DAX-1 (Dosagesensitive sex reversal-Adrenal hypoplasia congenita critical region on the X chromosome), the mouse XZ does not regress when DAX-1 is mutated. Only in humans with DAX-1 mutations, however, is the DZ small and hypofunctional. Patients and mice with SF-1 mutations have complete adrenal aplasia with absence of both the DZ and FZ/XZ. Lastly, the phenotype of the Autosomal Recessive Adrenocortical Dysplasia (acd) mouse is strikingly similar to human Miniature Adult Congenital Adrenal Hypoplasia, lacking an XZ/FZ and possessing a dysfunctional DZ. Current work has addressed the regulation of SF-1 and DAX-1 dependent adrenocortical growth and steroidogenesis in vivo utilizing mouse models of simple and combined SF-1 and DAX-1 deficiency. In addition, the model of compensatory adrenal growth in SF-1 haplo-insufficient mice has been applied to evaluate the potential role of SF-1 in adrenocortical proliferation. Additional efforts aim to positionally clone the acd gene, predicated on the hypothesis that it is a critical component of the adrenal developmental cascade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-607
Number of pages11
JournalEndocrine Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


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