Temporal and spatial distribution of mast cells and steroidogenic enzymes in the human fetal adrenal

Alexandre Naccache, Estelle Louiset, Céline Duparc, Annie Laquerrière, Sophie Patrier, Sylvie Renouf, Celso E. Gomez-Sanchez, Kuniaki Mukai, Hervé Lefebvre, Mireille Castanet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Mast cells are present in the human adult adrenal with a potential role in the regulation of aldosterone secretion in both normal cortex and adrenocortical adenomas. We have investigated the human developing adrenal gland for the presence of mast cells in parallel with steroidogenic enzymes profile and serotonin signaling pathway. RT-QPCR and immunohistochemical studies were performed on adrenals at 16–41 weeks of gestation (WG). Tryptase-immunopositive mast cells were found from 18 WG in the adrenal subcapsular layer, close to 3βHSD- and CYP11B2-immunoreactive cells, firstly detected at 18 and 24 WG, respectively. Tryptophan hydroxylase and serotonin receptor type 4 expression increased at 30 WG before the CYP11B2 expression surge. In addition, HDL and LDL cholesterol receptors were expressed in the subcapsular zone from 24 WG. Altogether, our findings suggest the implication of mast cells and serotonin in the establishment of the mineralocorticoid synthesizing pathway during fetal adrenal development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 15


  • Aldosterone
  • Human fetal adrenal
  • Mast cells
  • Microenvironment
  • Serotonin
  • Steroidogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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