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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2012 Mar 31;351(1):19-27. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2011.10.002. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Sonic hedgehog signaling during adrenal development.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA. elaufer@columbia.edu


It has been speculated for a number of years that Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling plays an important role in adrenal development. Over the past two years several reports have described the expression and function of Shh pathway genes in the adrenal cortex, using primarily mouse models. The key findings are that Shh signals produced by a population of partially differentiated cortical cells located in the outer cortex/zona glomerulosa are received by non-cortical mesenchymal cells located predominantly in the overlying capsule. This signal is required for growth of both the capsule and the cortex, but not for cortical zonation or steroidogenic cell differentiation. Using molecular genetic tools to define the adrenocortical cell lineages that are descended from both Shh signaling and receiving cells, both capsule and cortical cells were found to have properties of adrenocortical stem and/or progenitor cells. Here we place these observations within the context of prior studies on adrenal development, postnatal adrenal maintenance and adrenocortical stem/progenitor cell lineages.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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