Adrenal medulla development and medullary-cortical interactions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review



The mammalian adrenal gland is composed of two distinct tissue types in a bidirectional connection, the catecholamine-producing medulla derived from the neural crest and the mesoderm-derived cortex producing steroids. The medulla mainly consists of chromaffin cells derived from multipotent nerve-associated descendants of Schwann cell precursors. Already during adrenal organogenesis, close interactions between cortex and medulla are necessary for proper differentiation and morphogenesis of the gland. Moreover, communication between the cortex and the medulla ensures a regular function of the adult adrenal. In tumor development, interfaces between the two parts are also common. Here, we summarize the development of the mammalian adrenal medulla and the current understanding of the cortical-medullary interactions under development and in health and disease.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111258
JournalMolecular and cellular endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2021

External IDs

Scopus 85103701514
ORCID /0000-0002-6932-333X/work/148144970



  • Adrenal Cortex/growth & development, Adrenal Medulla/growth & development, Animals, Catecholamines/metabolism, Cell Differentiation, Chromaffin Cells/metabolism, Humans, Neural Crest/metabolism