The involvement of innervation in the regulation of fetal adrenal steroidogenesis

T. J. McDonald, P. W. Nathanielsz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Over the last decade, great interest has been generated in evaluation of the extent of neural control of the adrenal cortex and in adrenal cortical/medullary paracrine interactions. The purpose of this review is to summarize current knowledge of fetal adrenal cortical innervation and to present an overview of those studies of fetal adrenal function indicating that adrenal inneveration plays a functional role in the control of glucocorticoid secretion under basal conditions and in response to a variety of homeostatic challenges. It will be helpful in understanding both the innervation of the adrenal cortex and the role of adrenal innervation in steroidogenesis during fetal development to briefly review experimental studies that have shed light on adrenal steroidogenesis during postnatal life. This is helpful for two reasons: 1) the vast majority of studies of adrenal innervation and its effect on steroidogenesis have utilized postnatal animals and 2) since the fetus is preparing for postnatal life, evaluating the level of function achieved postnatally provides crucial insights into the developmental stages of adrenal innervation and its role in steroidogenesis in preparing the fetus for an independent postnatal existence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • CRH
  • Catecholamines
  • Enkephalins
  • NPY
  • Substance P
  • VIP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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