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Adrenal Gland (Basic)

Adrenal Gland Crash Course
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The adrenal glands are endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys and take part in the stress response pathway, secondary production of androgens, and blood osmoregulation. The adrenal cortex runs along the outer edge of the adrenal gland and is the primary section involved in stress response. The cortex has three layers, the zona glomerulosa, zona fasciculata, and zona reticularis. The outermost layer, the zona glomerulosa, releases aldosterone, which increases water and salt retention in the kidneys. The middle layer, the zona fasciculata, produces and secretes glucocorticoids, including cortisol, which is involved in glucose metabolism and the stress response mechanism. The adrenal cortex is also a secondary source of male sex hormones, as the innermost layer, the zona reticularis, produces DHEA and androstenedione, which are sources of conversion to DHA and testosterone. For females, the zona reticularis is the only source of male sex hormones, while males can also produce them in the testicles. The adrenal medulla is at the center of the adrenal gland, and is connected to the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system. Within it are chromaffin cells, which release epinephrine, which takes part in regulating metabolism, heart rate, vasodilation and vasoconstriction. The chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla also releases norepinephrine, which affects the amygdala, and impacts attention and responses.  Both norepinephrine and epinephrine are part of the "fight-or-flight" response of the sympathetic nervous system. 
7 KEY FACTS
CHARACTERISTICS
Adrenal Cortex
Adrenal Cortez

The adrenal cortex runs along the outer edge of the adrenal gland and affects the stress response through production of a variety of hormones. The cortex can be broken into three layers, the zona glomerulosa, the zona fasciculata and the zona reticularis. It is here in the adrenal cortex that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS, stimulates aldosterone production.

RAAS Stimulates Aldosterone
Raspberries stimulating Aldo-stereo

The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS, is a hormone system that stimulates aldosterone production.

CRF (CRH) Acts on ACTH Receptors
CRying-Fat kid and Air-Conditioner with Receptor

The adrenal cortex contains corticotropin-releasing factor, or CRF, receptors, along with adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH, receptors.

Cortisol Released
Court-of-Sol

When the CRF and ACTH receptors are stimulated, cortisol is released. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that binds to the glucocorticoid receptor. It is the main hormone involved in the regulation of glucose metabolism and the stress-response mechanism.

Androgens Released
Android-genie

The zona reticularis, which is the innermost layer of the adrenal cortex, produces androgens, which are male cortical sex hormones that affect the development of male secondary sexual characteristics in males. These cortical sex hormones are also present in females. When the CRF and ACTH receptors are stimulated, androgens are released.

Adrenal Medulla
Adrenal Medusa

The adrenal medulla is located in the center of the adrenal gland and is connected to the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.

Epinephrine & Norepinephrine
Epi-pen and North-epi-pen

Norepinephrine is a stress hormone that affects the amygdala, impacting attention and responses. Epinephrine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that has many functions, including regulating metabolism, heart rate, vasodilation and vasoconstriction. These catecholamines are secreted by the chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla, affecting the "fight or flight" response of the sympathetic nervous system.

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