Stories about: congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Adrenal gland offers a new view of tissue regeneration and maintenance

A confocal micrograph of a mouse adrenal gland. The green stripes radiating from the outer region containing the zona glomerulosa (zG) to the inner region containing the zona fasiculata (zF) provide evidence for direct lineage conversion of these two differentiated cell types.
In this mouse adrenal gland, the green stripes radiating from the outer region containing the zona glomerulosa (zG) to the inner region containing the zona fasiculata (zF) provide evidence for direct lineage conversion of these two cell types.

In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, discovered a way to reprogram mature skin cells back to a stem cell state so they can be converted into any cell type a scientist is interested in studying. That work earned him last year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Yamanaka’s discovery raised the tantalizing question of whether similar reprogramming ever occurs in nature. In fact, it does, discovered David Breault, MD, PhD, an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. In the journal Developmental Cell, Breault recently showed that the adrenal gland uses cellular reprogramming (called lineage conversion) for daily maintenance and to repair itself after injury.

“This is going to be important for how we think of tissue maintenance and regeneration,” Breault says.

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