Dr. med. Dirk Manski

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Anatomy of the Adrenal Glands

Gross Anatomy of the Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are paired endocrine organs located in the retroperitoneum above the upper poles of the kidneys. They weigh about 8 g each. 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 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:

It is only partially possible to assign adrenal hormone production to individual layers. The mineralocorticoids are produced from the zona glomerulosa, and the glucocorticoids and androgens are mostly produced from the zona fascicularis and reticularis.

Adrenal Medulla

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