Mast Cells in Human Adrenal Gland during Fetal Development

Presentation Number: MON-0392
Date of Presentation: June 23rd, 2014

Herve Lefebvre*1, Mireille Castanet2, Estelle Louiset3, Alexandre Naccache4 and Céline Duparc5
1INSERM U982, Institute for Research and Innovation in Biomedicine, Rouen, France, 2INSERM U982, Institute for Biomedical Research and Innovation, University of Rouen, Mont Saint Aignan, France, 3Normandie University, UNIROUEN, INSERM U982, Laboratoire Différenciation et Communication Neuronale et Neuroendocrine, ROUEN, France, 4INSERM U982, Institute for Biomedical Research and Innovation, UNiversity of Rouen, Mont Saint Aignan, France, 5Normandie University, UNIROUEN, INSERM U982, ROUEN, France


We previously found that mast cells are present in the human adult adrenal gland with a possible role in the regulation of aldosterone secretion  in both physiological conditions and aldosterone-producing adrenocortical adenomas responsible for primary hyperaldosteronism. In order to investigate the presence of mast cells in the human developing adrenal gland, immunochemistochemical studies were performed on paraffin- embedded adrenal glands from 16 weeks of gestation (WG) to the term.

Immunopositive cells for the mast cell marker tryptase were firstly detected at 20 WG with a peak of density at 28-31 WG. Double immunostaining with antibodies against the steroidogenic enzymes 3βHSD, characterizing the definitive and transition zones, and 17 α-hydroxylase (17-OH; CYP17), characterizing the transition and foetal zones, revealed that mast cells are mainly located in the vicinity of steroidogenic cells in the subcapsular definitive zone. There was no correlation, in term of timing of expression, with either 17-OH, which was present at all studied stages, or 3βHSD firstly detected quite earlier at 18 GW.

In conclusion, we demonstrated for the first time, that mast cells are present in the human fetal adrenal gland from the second trimester of pregnancy. However, no clear evidence of relationship was found with the kinetics of steroidogenic enzymes expression. Further studies need to be performed, such as investigation of CYP11B2 expression, to assess an eventual role of mast cells in aldosterone production and to better understand the role of these intra-adrenal mast cells in the fetal development.


Nothing to Disclose: HL, MC, EL, AN, CD