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Endocrine Adrenal Gland Notes

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THE ADRENAL GLAND: response to stress, acute and chronic Acute stressors: trauma/infection/intense heat or cold/starvation/surgery/sever blood/pain/dehydration Chronic stress: anxiety, depression Development and gross anatomy
-adrenal glands located medial to the upper pole of each kidney- identified as a seprate organ at 2 months gestation
-during fetal development the adrenal cortex consists of a fetal zone and a definitive zone
-the fetal zone of the adrenal cortex is very prominent in the fetus but it regresses after birth-the fetal zone produces androgens which the placenta aromatises to oestrogens
-the definitive zone is similar to the adrenal cortex outercortex:
-develops from the mesoderm close to the mesonephros
-sheets of cells surrounded by capillaries and are arranged in three zones
-secretes steroid hormones
-zona glomerulosa (outer zone)- secretes aldosterone (mineralocorticoid)electron microscope- cells arranged in irregular ovoid clusters separated by delicate fibrous trabeculae. Cytoplasm has large amount of SER, mitachondria
-zona fasciulata (middle zone) - secretes cortisol - broadest of the three, narrow coloumns parallel cords of secretory cells disposed at right angles to the capsule. Sepearted by strands of collagen, wide bore capillaries, lipid droplets present
-zona reticularis (inner zone)-secretes small amount of androgens- thin innermost layer of adrenal cortex, irregular network of branching cords, clusters of glandular cells small closely packed cells arranged in irregular cords
-light microscope- cells are surrounded by fenestrated capillaries and there memabrane has microvillous projections. There are many lipid droplets, mitochondria, golgi, SR

inner medulla:
-develops from the neural crest tissue

-adrenal medulla made up of groups of chromaffin cells, packed with catecholamine granules- seen with H $ E stain, appear basophilic -these store large amount of adrenaline and noradrenaline- secretes catecholamines- noradrenaline, adrenaline
-reinforce the action of the sympathetic nervous system under conditions of stressrapid response Blood supply to the adrenal gland
-richly vascularised supplied by the superior, middle and inferior suprarenal arteriesthese form a plexus under the capsule of the gland
-the cortex has an anastomosing network of capillary sinusoids- branches of the subcapsular plexus- short cortical arteries- these descend into lower zones and drain into the smaller venules which converge into the central vein of the medulla. Central medullary vein has longitunal bundles of smooth muscle between which cortical venules enter- contraction of the smooth muscle dam back cortical blood and regulates flow
-medulla is supplied by long cortical arteries- these descend from the subscapular plexus- through the cortex into the medulla- ramify into a rich network of dilated capillaries- drain into central vein of the medulla
-the central adrenal vein splits into the left adrenal vein which into the renal vein and the right adrenal vein which drains into the inferior vena cava
-the blood supply is not reduced in stress Innervation
-mostly the medulla is innervated
-thoracic preganglionic sympathetic fibres secrete ACH-act on nicotinic receptors


Stimulus to release adrenaline
-stressful stimuli which activates the sympathetic nervous system. E.g- low blood pressure, haemorrhage, pain, low blood glucose, exercise, surgery, asphyxia
-this leads to the activation of preganglionic sympathetic fibres which release ACH, act on nictonic receptors
-stress results in a very rapid increase in adrenaline and noradrenaline concentrations but when stress is removed the concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline decreases rapidly
-rapid responses are due to large reserves of the catecholamines Synthesis of adrenaline

-occurs in the cytoplasm of the chromaffin cells
-tyrosine is converted to DOPA by tyrosine hydroxylase. DOPA is converted to dopamine by DOPA decarboxylase- dopamine is then pumped into granules and is converted into noradrenaline by B hydroxylase
-noradrenaline is stored or pumped out of the granule for conversion to adrenaline (80% of the total) by phenyl-N-methyltransferase in the cytoplasm
-adrenal is then pumped into granules for storage and release Actions
-preperation for emergency physical activity
-adrenal medulla contributes to 10% of total sympathetic nervous system response to stress Stress: change that disturbs or threatens to disturb homeostasis Receptors:
-adrenaline and noradrenaline act at adrenergic receptors. But the potency on different receptors vary
-alpha receptors: PLC coupled (noradrenaline > adrenaline)
-a1: all blood vessels (vasoconstrictor), gut sphincters
-a2: presynaptic terminals:
-Beta receptors: Camp coupled
-b1: heart, fat (adrenaline = noradrenaline)
-b2: bronchi, blood vessels (vasodilator skeletal muscle) (adrenaline >
noradrenaline) Effect of adrenaline a) cardiovascular system
-increases the heart rate and force of contraction via B1 receptors
-stimulates vasodilation in skeletal muscle (B2), vasoconstriction in the skin (a1)
-increases the mean arterial pressure through vasoconstriction b) Respiratory system
-increases the dilation of the bronchi and bronchioles via B2 receptors
-increase respiratory rate through effects on CNS c) GI Tract
-inhibition of peristalsis-relaxation of gut smooth muscle
-contraction of gut sphincter-act on A1receptors

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