The adrenal capsule is a signalling centre controlling cell renewal and zonation through Rspo3 |
Adrenal glands are vital organs that regulate diverse biological parameters including blood pressure, glucose metabolism and stress response. To achieve this feat, adrenals have developed specialized cells that are arranged in distinct zones and produce specific hormones. How this specialization is achieved and how the adrenal tissue is maintained throughout life remains mysterious. In this study we have identified RSPO3 as a protein that is released from the capsular cells surrounding the adrenal gland and signals to the underlying cells to produce specific hormones and to undergo self-renewal. Deletion of this gene leads to rapid loss of enzymes that are required for mineralocorticoid production a class of hormones that controls salt levels and blood pressure, and a progressive decline of adrenal tissue. Taken together our manuscript identifies the adrenal capsule, that is often still considered as a simple ‘bag to hold the tissue’, as a key signalling centre for adrenal homeostasis. RSPO3 acts as a key molecule that instructs adjacent cells to produce mineralocorticoids and to self renew. Manipulating this signalling pathway may thus in the long run help to treat adrenal insufficiency.
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