Zone-specific cell proliferation during adrenocortical regeneration after enucleation in rats

William B. Ennen, Brett K. Levay-Young, William C Engeland

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21 Scopus citations


A quantitative analysis of zone-specific proliferation was done to determine the recovery of adrenal cortical zonation during regeneration after enucleation. Adult male rats underwent adrenal enucleation [unilateral enucleation (ULE)] or sham surgery, both accompanied by contralateral adrenalectomy. At 2, 5, 10, and 28 days, blood and adrenals were collected to assess functional recovery. Adrenal sections were immunostained for Ki67 (proliferation), cytochrome P-450 aldosterone synthase (P-450aldo, glomerulosa), and cytochrome P-450 11β-hydroxylase (P-45011β, fasciculata). Unbiased stereology was used to count proliferating glomerulosa and fasciculata cells. Recovery of fasciculata secretory function occurred by 28 days as reflected by plasma ACTH and corticosterone, whereas glomerulosa function reflected by plasma aldosterone remained low at 28 days. At 5 days, ULE adrenals showed increased Ki67+ cells in the glomerulosa and inner fasciculata, whereas at 10 and 28 days increased proliferation was restricted to the outer fasciculata. These data show that enucleation results in transient elevations in glomerulosa and inner fasciculata cell proliferation followed by a delayed increase in the outer fasciculata. To assess adrenal growth in enucleated adrenals previously suppressed by the presence of an intact adrenal, rats underwent ULE and sham surgery; after 4 wk, the intact adrenal was removed and enucleated adrenals were collected at 2, 5, and 10 days. Overall, proliferation was delayed in this model, but at 5 days, Ki67+ cells increased in the outer fasciculata, whereas by 10 days, increased proliferation occurred in the outer and inner fasciculata. The key novel finding of increased proliferation in the inner fasciculata suggests that the delayed growth of the enucleated adrenal results in part from a regenerative response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E883-E891
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5 52-5
StatePublished - Nov 2005


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