American Urological Association - Adrenal Gland: Medulla

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Home Education AUAUniversity Education Products & Resources Pathology for Urologists Normal Histology and Important Histo-anatomic Structures Adrenal Gland: Medulla

Adrenal Gland: Medulla

Image A

Image B

  • Central part of adrenal that arose from neural tissue (image A).
  • Rich in blood vessels.
  • Predominant cell is the chromaffin cell.
    • Neuroendocrine cell that produces catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine).
    • Has brownish appearance with chromium salts due to oxidation of catecholamines to melanin (hence the name "chromium" + "affinity").
    • Columnar cells with basophilic (bluish) granular cytoplasm arranged in clusters usually around vessels (image B).
    • Expresses synaptophysin and chromogranin.
  • Few ganglion cells are also present.
    • Large round or polygonal cells with abundant cytoplasm, large nuclei and prominent nucleolus (owl's eyes nucleus).

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