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Anat Rec. 1982 Jan;202(1):105-111.

Preliminary observations on the role of the mesonephros in the development of the adrenal cortex.


The interrelationship between mesonephros, adrenal cortex, and gonads was studied in 28- and 31-day old sheep fetuses by means of light microscopy on plastic sections. At these stages, the adrenal cortex is just beginning to develop and mesonephros is undergoing involution; its regression is accompanied by mobilization of cells from the glomerulus of a peculiar nephron situated in the proximal third of the organ, and referred to as "giant" because of its large size. The mobilized cells egress from this glomerulus organized in trabeculae, some of which reach the cranial extremity of the adrenal cortex while others coalesce into a prominent cellular formation which extends uninterrupted toward and into the developing gonads. In previous studies we have shown that the mesonephric cells which colonize the gonads differentiate into sustentacular and interstitial steroidogenic cells; the presence of an analogous cellular migration from the mesonephros to the adrenal cortex now suggests that also the adrenal cortical cells may be of mesonephric origin.

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