Author(s): Wolkersdrfer GW, Bornstein SR
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Abstract Adaptation of the adrenal gland to the demands of the organism is regulated functionally and structurally. Three common hypotheses on zonation in the adrenal gland, the migrational, zonal, and transformation field theories, try independently to reconcile the findings on structure, proliferation, and cell death. The classical theories on zonation are revisited in the light of recent data on cell death and renewal. In accordance with data on cell death as immunoreactivity against FAS(CD 95), an apoptosis-inducing receptor, in situ end labelling of fragmented DNA, and ultrastructural analyses, programmed cell death (PCD) occurs throughout the whole organ. The angiotensin II receptor subtypes described in the adrenal allow an additional regulation of tissue homeostasis by proliferative and even by the antiproliferative effects of the angiotensin II type 2 receptor. Proto-oncogenes are involved in the regulation of cell cycle and PCD, and adrenocorticotropin asserts its tissue integrating and differentiating effects by regulating proto-oncogenes such as c-jun, c-fos, jun-B and c-myc. Polypeptides involved in proliferation and DNA repair, such as proliferating cell nuclear antigen and Ki-67, have been found within zones of expected cell senescence. The expression of the class II major histocompatibility complex on normal adrenocortical cells allows cell-to-cell communication with the immune system and may trigger the Fas/Fas-ligand system to permit tissue regression and decreasing activity in both systems. In summary, new data allow us to reappraise and to reconcile the classical theories. Apoptosis is a physiological process in the adrenal gland. There is a differential regulation of apoptosis in the different zones. An investigation of this process may elucidate the basic mechanisms of adrenal zonation.
This article was published in Biochem Pharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy