List of abbreviations
of micros-
specialist terms
explained in
English +

Every attempt was made to provide correct information and labelling, however any liability for eventual errors or incompleteness is rejected!

dieser Seite

Dr. med.
H. Jastrow

of use
Overview adrenal gland (Glandula suprarenalis):
Pages with explanations are linked to the text below the images if available! (Labelling is in German)
Zona glomerulosa
Zona glomerulosa 2
detail: mitochondria
+ lipid droplets (monkey) 
Mitosis of an epithelial cell
adrenal gland (rat)
fenestrated capillaries
(adrenal gland, rat)
 Zona fasciculata
overview (rat)
trinucleated cell of
Zona fasciculata (rat)
central detail with saccular
mitochondria (rat)
Zona fasciculata (rat)
detail thereof
cell of
Zona fasciculata (rat)
tubular mitochondria
Zona fasciculata (rat)
 Zona reticularis 1 (monkey) Zona reticularis 2 (monkey) Zona reticularis 3 (monkey) Zona reticularis 4 (monkey) Zona reticularis 5 (monkey)
medulla of adrenal
gland overview (rat)
other overview of adrenal
medulla (rat)
adrenergic + noradrener-
gic cells of medulla (rat)
adrenergic + noradrener-
gic cell adrenal medulla (rat)
noradrenergic cell of
the medulla (rat)
adrenergic cell of the
medulla (monkey)
adrenergic and noradren-
ergic vesicles of medulla (rat)
vesicles (rat)
border of Zona reticularis
and medulla (rat)

The adrenal gland (suprarenal gland; Terminologia histologica: Glandula suprarenalis) is an endocrine gland and has a weight of about 10g. It consists of an outer zone with high endocrine activity called adrenal cortex and an inner zone the adrenal medulla.The adrenal gland is covered by a capsule (Terminologia histologica: Capsula) consisting of an outer layer of tight connective tissue (Terminologia histologica: Lamina fibrosa; englisch: fibrous lamina) and a deeper cellular lamina (subcapsular blastema; Terminologia histologica: Lamina cellulosa) with small cells of low differentiation. The capsule is surrounded by the loose connective tissue of the renal adipose capsule which is rich in blood vessels and fat cells.
Adrenal cortex (Terminologia histologica: Cortex)
Different layers of the cortex can be distinguished:
1. Zona glomerulosa (Terminologia histologica: Zona glomerulosa corticis). This outermost layer comprises about 10% of the cortical thickness and lies directly beyond the capsule. The endocrine epithelial cells located here have a little less lipid droplets and produce mineral corticoidsmainly aldosteron, which is a part of the renin-angiotensin-system. In consequence the cells are controlled by feedback-regulation by means of angiotensin II. The following
2. Zona fasciculata (Terminologia histologica: Zona fasciculata) is much stronger and makes up about 70 % of the mass of the cortex. The Zona fasciculata is mainly producing glucocorticoids like Cortisol und Cortison but also releases few amounts of estrogenes and androgenes. It is controlled by the adrenocorticotropic hormone of the pituitary. The next layer is the
3. Zona reticularis (Terminologia histologica: Zona reticularis). This zone consists of a loose network of capillaries and cell cords and comprises about 20% of the mass of the cortex. The zona reticularis releases androgenes which are not very effective and are further processed in other tissues like prostate, mamma or placenta to gain more efficiency. While in males testosteron from the interstitial cells of the testis is the main androgen, adrenal androgenes are those of relevance in females.

Adrenal medulla (Terminologia histologica: Medulla)
The adrenal medulla is in fact a ganglion of the sympathicus with large multipolar autonomic ganglion cells of the sympaticus (large cells, "true neurons", Terminologia histologica: Neurona multipolaria autonomica) are seen intermingled with endocrine cells, i.e. medullary chromaffin cells (Terminologia histologica: Endocrinocyti medullares).
The adrenal medulla releases adrenalin and noradrenalin in high rates under stressy conditions as well as some neuropeptides.

More detailed information and images are available in the professional version of this atlas.

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--> Electron microscopic atlas Overview
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Some images were kindly provided by Prof. H. Wartenberg or Dr. E. Schiller; other images, page & copyright H. Jastrow.