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Adrenal gland

Adrenal gland
Endocrine system
Adrenal gland
Latin glandula suprarenalis
Gray's subject #277 1278
System Endocrine
Artery superior suprarenal artery, middle suprarenal artery, Inferior suprarenal artery
Vein suprarenal veins
Nerve celiac plexus, renal plexus
Lymph lumbar glands
MeSH Adrenal+Glands
Dorlands/Elsevier g_06/12392729

In mammals, the adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys; their name indicates that position (ad-, "near" or "at" + -renes, "kidneys"). They are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamines, including cortisol and adrenaline.


Anatomy and function

Anatomically, the adrenal glands are located in the thoracic abdomen situated atop the kidneys, specifically on their anterosuperior aspect. In humans, the adrenal glands are found at the level of the 12th thoracic vertebra and receive their blood supply from the adrenal arteries.

The adrenal gland is separated into two distinct structures, both of which receive regulatory input from the nervous system:

Arteries and veins

Although variations of the blood supply to the adrenal glands (and indeed the kidneys themselves) are common, there are usually three arteries that supply each adrenal gland:

  • The superior suprarenal artery is provided by the inferior phrenic
  • The middle suprarenal artery is provided by the abdominal aorta
  • The inferior suprarenal artery is provided by the renal artery

Venous drainage of the adrenal glands is achieved via the suprarenal veins:

  • The right suprarenal vein drains into the inferior vena cava
  • The left suprarenal vein drains into the left renal vein or the left inferior phrenic vein.

The suprarenal veins receive blood may form anastomoses with the inferior phrenic veins.

The adrenal glands and the thyroid gland are the organs that have the greatest blood supply per gram of tissue. Up to 60 arterioles may enter each adrenal gland.[1]

See also



  1. ^ JE Skandalakis. Surgical Anatomy: The Embryologic And Anatomic Basis Of Modern Surgery (2004).

General references

  • MedlinePlus Encyclopedia 002219
  • Virtual Slidebox at Univ. Iowa Slide 272
  • Anatomy Atlases - Microscopic Anatomy, plate 15.292 - "Adrenal Gland"
  • Histology at BU 14501loa
  • SUNY Labs 40:03-0105 - "Posterior Abdominal Wall: The Retroperitoneal Fat and Suprarenal Glands"
  • Adrenal Gland, from Colorado State University
  • Cross section at UV pembody/body8a
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Adrenal_gland". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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