Dr. med. Dirk Manski

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Anatomy of the Adrenal Glands

References: (Benninghoff, 1993).

Gross Anatomy of the Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are a paired endocrine organ located in the retroperitoneum above the upper poles of the kidneys. The weight of the two adrenal glands is about 8 g. The cut surface of the adrenal gland is divided into the outer yellow-gold adrenal cortex and brown-red inner adrenal medulla.

Anatomical neighborhood: cranial diaphragm, anterior liver (right) and pancreas (left), caudal the kidney and medial vena cava (right) and aorta (left).

Vascular and Nerve Supply to the Adrenal Glands

Microscopic Anatomy (Histology) of the adrenal glands

Adrenal Cortex

A thin capsule covers the adrenal cortex; from outside to inside the cortex consists of three layers:

The assignment of the adrenal hormone production to individual layers is not fully possible. The mineralocorticoids are produced from the zona glomerulosa, the glucocorticoids and androgens mostly from the zona fascicularis and reticularis.

Adrenal Medulla

The adrenal medulla contains chromeaffin cells (catecholamine production), which are arranged in strands with intervening blood sinus. Depending on the production of adrenaline and norepinephrine, the chromeaffin cells are distinguished between the A (95%) and N cells (5%). Multi-polar sympathetic ganglion cells are found between chromeaffin cells.

Index: 1–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Benninghoff 1993 BENNINGHOFF, A.: Makroskopische Anatomie, Embryologie und Histologie des Menschen.
15. Auflage.
München; Wien; Baltimore : Urban und Schwarzenberg, 1993

  Deutsche Version: Anatomie der Nebennieren (Glandula suprarenalis).