Hormones control adrenal stem cells

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Science  07 Jun 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6444, pp. 967-968
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6444.967-d

The adrenal cortex produces steroid hormones involved in stress responses. This part of the adrenal gland is sexually dimorphic. The cortex is larger in females, in whom it displays variable susceptibility to disease, including cancers. Grabek et al. examined the cellular basis of this sex bias. Females have much higher cell turnover, which means that the steroidogenic tissue is effectively replaced every 3 months. By contrast, male hormones suppress proliferation and stem cell recruitment. Females not only show increased proliferation but also recruitment of mesenchymal cells from the capsule. These responses depend on the hormonal environment rather than sex chromosomes. So, if androgens are removed, the stem cell compartment becomes activated, whereas adding androgens inhibits capsular stem cell activity. These sex-specific activities may be of relevance to disease susceptibility.

Cell Stem Cell 10.1016/j.stem.2019.04.012 (2019).

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