Adrenal cortex

Adrenal cortex

Situated along the perimeter of the adrenal gland, the adrenal cortex mediates the stress response through the production of mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids, including aldosterone and cortisol respectively. It is also a secondary site of androgen synthesis.

Layers

The cortex can be divided into three distinct layers of tissue based on their organisation. A useful mnemonic, GFR, relates to the glomerular filtration rate, as used in clinical practice.

Layer Name Primary product
Most superficial cortical layer zona glomerulosa mineralocorticoids (eg, aldosterone)
Middle cortical layer zona fasciculata glucocorticoids (eg, cortisol)
Deepest cortical layer zona reticularis weak androgens (eg, dehydroepiandrosterone)

Steps of hormone synthesis

The steps up to this point occur in many steroid-producing tissues. Subsequent steps, however, only occur in the adrenal cortex:

  • Progesterone → (hydroxylation at C21) → 11-Deoxycorticosterone → (two further hydroxylations at C11 and C18) → Aldosterone
  • Progesterone → (hydroxylation at C17) → 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone → (hydroxylation at C21) → 11-Deoxycortisol → (hydroxylation at C11) → Cortisol

Production

The adrenal cortex produces a number of different corticosteroid hormones:

Pathology

See also

References

External links

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