Adrenal Disease


The adrenal gland comprises the adrenal medulla, which secretes noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and adrenaline (epinephrine), and the adrenal cortex, which is responsible for glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid and androgen production. Disorders of the adrenal gland result in either excessive or deficient production of these hormones.

Keywords: Addison disease; Cushing syndrome; hyperaldosteronism; phaeochromocytoma

Figure 1.

Regulation of cortisol synthesis. ACTH, adrenocorticotrophic hormone; CRH, corticotrophin‐releasing hormone.

Figure 2.

Regulation of aldosterone synthesis. ACE, ; ACTH, adrenocorticotrophic hormone.

Figure 3.

Pathophysiology of primary adrenal insufficiency. ACTH, adrenocorticotrophic hormone.

Figure 4.

Diagnosis of adrenal Cushing syndrome. ACTH, adrenocorticotrophic hormone; LDDST, ; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging; UFC, .

Figure 5.

Investigation of primary hyperaldosteronism. CT, computed tomography; GRA, glucocorticoid‐remediable aldosteronism; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging.

Figure 6.

Adrenal steroid biosynthesis pathway. 3β‐HSD, 3β‐hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase; 21‐OH, 21‐hydroxylase; 11β‐OH, 11β‐hydroxylase; 17β‐OH, 17β‐hydroxylase.



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Further Reading

Hunt PJ and Inder WJ (1995) Diagnosis, monitoring and management of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Current Opinion in Endocrinology and Diabetes 2: 231–238.

Stewart PM and Dunne F (1997) Primary hyperaldosteronism. In: Sheaves R, Jenkins PJ and Wass JA (eds) Clinical Endocrine Oncology, pp. 312–318. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science.

Young WF (1997) Phaeochromocytoma and primary aldosteronism: diagnostic approaches. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America 26(4): 801–827.

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How to Cite close
Elsheikh, Mohgah, and Wass, John AH(Apr 2001) Adrenal Disease. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002260]