Case report: Nodule development from subcapsular aldosterone-producing cell clusters causes hyperaldosteronism

Koshiro Nishimoto, Tsugio Seki, Isao Kurihara, Kenichi Yokota, Masao Omura, Tetsuo Nishikawa, Hirotaka Shibata, Takeo Kosaka, Mototsugu Oya, Makoto Suematsu, Kuniaki Mukai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Context: We previously reported that the human adrenal cortex remodels to form subcapsular aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs).SomeAPCCs were recently found to carry aldosteroneproducing adenoma (APA)-associated somatic mutations in ion channel/pump genes, which implied that APCCs produce aldosterone autonomously and are an origin of APA. However, there has been no report describing an APCC-to-APA transitional lesion. Case Description: A histological examination revealed unilateral multiple adrenocortical micronodules in the adrenals of two patients with primary aldosteronism (PA). Based on immunohistochemistry for aldosterone synthase, some of the micronodules were identified as possible APCC-to-APA transitional lesions (pAATLs; a tentative term used in this manuscript), which consisted of a subcapsular APCC-like portion and an inner micro-APA-like (mAPA-like) portion without an apparent histological border. GenomicDNAsamples prepared from pAATL histological sections were analyzed by next-generation sequencing for the known APA-associated mutations. The mAPA-like portions from two of the three large pAATLs examined harbored mutations (KCNJ5 [p.G151R] in pAATL 3 and ATP1A1 [p.L337M] in pAATL 7), whereas their corresponding APCC-like portions did not, suggesting their role in the formation of mAPA. Another lesion carried novel mutations in ATP1A1 (p.Ile322-Ile325del and p.Ile327Ser) in both the mAPA-like and APCC-like portions, thereby supporting these portions having a clonal origin. Conclusion: A novel aldosterone-producing pathology, pAATL that causes unilateral PA, was detected in the adrenals of two patients. Next-generation sequencing analyses of the large pAATLs suggested that the introduction of APA-associated mutations in the ion channel/pump genes may be involved in the development of mAPA from existing APCCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-9
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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