Paper - The development of the adrenal gland in man

From Embryology
Revision as of 21:17, 21 June 2017 by Z8600021 (talk | contribs)
Embryology - 3 Jun 2020    Facebook link Pinterest link Twitter link  Expand to Translate  
Google Translate - select your language from the list shown below (this will open a new external page)

العربية | català | 中文 | 中國傳統的 | français | Deutsche | עִברִית | हिंदी | bahasa Indonesia | italiano | 日本語 | 한국어 | မြန်မာ | Pilipino | Polskie | português | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਦੇ | Română | русский | Español | Swahili | Svensk | ไทย | Türkçe | اردو | ייִדיש | Tiếng Việt    These external translations are automated and may not be accurate. (More? About Translations)

A personal message from Dr Mark Hill (May 2020)  
Mark Hill.jpg
I have decided to take early retirement in September 2020. During the many years online I have received wonderful feedback from many readers, researchers and students interested in human embryology. I especially thank my research collaborators and contributors to the site. The good news is Embryology will remain online and I will continue my association with UNSW Australia. I look forward to updating and including the many exciting new discoveries in Embryology!

Crowder RE. The development of the adrenal gland in man, with special reference to origin and ultimate location of cell types and evidence in favor of the "cell migration" theory. (1957) Contrib. Embryol., Carnegie Inst. Wash. 36, 193-210.

Online Editor Note 
Mark Hill.jpg
This historic 1957 paper by Crowder is a description of the development of the human adrenal gland using many Carnegie Collection embryos. Note that this describes the neural crest contribution to the adrenal medulla.

Week: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Carnegie stage: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Modern Notes: Adrenal Development

Endocrine Links: Introduction | BGD Lecture | Science Lecture | Lecture Movie | pineal | hypothalamus‎ | pituitary | thyroid | parathyroid | thymus | pancreas | adrenal | endocrine gonad‎ | endocrine placenta | other tissues | Stage 22 | endocrine abnormalities | Hormones | Category:Endocrine
Historic Embryology - Endocrine  
1903 Islets of Langerhans | 1903 Pig Adrenal | 1904 interstitial Cells | 1908 Pancreas Different Species | 1908 Pituitary | 1908 Pituitary histology | 1911 Rathke's pouch | 1912 Suprarenal Bodies | 1914 Suprarenal Organs | 1915 Pharynx | 1916 Thyroid | 1918 Rabbit Hypophysis | 1920 Adrenal | 1935 Mammalian Hypophysis | 1926 Human Hypophysis | 1927 Adrenal | 1927 Hypophyseal fossa | 1930 Adrenal | 1932 Pineal Gland and Cysts | 1935 Hypophysis | 1935 Pineal | 1937 Pineal | 1938 Parathyroid | 1940 Adrenal | 1941 Thyroid | 1950 Thyroid Parathyroid Thymus | 1957 Adrenal

Neural Crest Links: neural crest | Lecture - Early Neural | Lecture - Neural Crest Development | Lecture Movie | Schwann cell | adrenal | melanocyte | peripheral nervous system | enteric nervous system | cornea | cranial nerve neural crest | head | skull | cardiac neural crest | Nicole Le Douarin | Neural Crest Movies | neural crest abnormalities | Category:Neural Crest
Historic Embryology - Neural Crest  
1879 Olfactory Organ | 1905 Cranial and Spinal Nerves | 1908 10 mm Peripheral | 1910 Mammal Sympathetic | 1920 Human Sympathetic | 1939 10 Somite Embryo | 1942 Origin | 1957 Adrenal
Historic Disclaimer - information about historic embryology pages 
Mark Hill.jpg
Pages where the terms "Historic" (textbooks, papers, people, recommendations) appear on this site, and sections within pages where this disclaimer appears, indicate that the content and scientific understanding are specific to the time of publication. This means that while some scientific descriptions are still accurate, the terminology and interpretation of the developmental mechanisms reflect the understanding at the time of original publication and those of the preceding periods, these terms, interpretations and recommendations may not reflect our current scientific understanding.     (More? Embryology History | Historic Embryology Papers)

The Development of the Adrenal Gland in Man, with Special Reference to Origin and Ultimate Location of Cell Types and Evidence in Favor of the “Cell Migration” Theory

by Roy E. Crowder

With 8 plates and 7 text figures.

  • The ideas herein expressed are those of the author and do not reflect those of the United States Navy.


A voluminous literature has accumulated on the development of the adrenal gland. In 1902, Iosef \Viesel apologized for adding one more article. Others, including the present author, have not been so restrained.

In a study of the sources of certain of the adrenal hormones, a review of the literature on the embryology and histology of the gland was undertaken. In spite of the number of articles published on the subject, including extensive reviews (Parkes, I945; Lanman, 1953), there was no consecutive life history of the source and ultimate distribution of the various cell types found in the gland. and, therefore, it was not possible to associate the synthesis of the adrenal hormones with specific cell types.

The wealth of closely seriated, well preserved, and adequately stained material available in the Carnegie Embryological Collection, in Baltimore, Maryland, made a complete histologic and embryologic study possible.

The study was begun with the idea of determining the types of cells in the adrenal cortex. It was soon found that, to do this adequately, the whole embryologic history must be reviewed. The results of this undertaking are set forth herein. It is hoped not only that they will assist in an understanding of the sequence of events in the histogenesis of the adrenal cortex and clarify a few of the points of controversy, but also that the descriptions of cell types in the cortex may be of value in determining the oligoplasia or hypcrplasia of certain of these cell types in relation to many clinical entities.


The following terms are defined to clarify the presentation:

Fetal cortex: The fetal adrenal cortex is composed of the same cell types as the adrenal cortex of the adult human, but the proportions and arrangements differ.

Medullary cells: The cells of neural origin which take up a location in the central portion of the gland during development. The process of localization begins in the embryonic period and continues until childhood.

Cell types: Cell types in the cortex are differentiated by the structure of their nuclei; they are numbered according to the order of their appearance in the primordium, as C-I (fig. 38, pl. 8), C-II (fig. 39, pl. 8), and C-III (fig. 40, pl. 8). As will be made clear, three distinct cell types may be recognized in the development of the medulla; these cells, designated M-I, M-II, and M-III, are described beginning on page 202.

Coelomic epithelial cells: The cells of the adrenal cortex which have their origin in the celomic epithelium. They are of two types: Type C-I (fig. 38, pl. 8), the first cells to enter the primordium, are large polyhedral cells, each of which contains a large round nucleus with little chromatin, a large round nucleolus, and a spherical, refractile inclusion. In a later stage, type C-III cells (Hg. 40, pl. 8) begin to emerge from the celomic epithelium, together with type C-I. Type C-III cells are smaller than type C-1, and each contains a smaller round nucleus which stains more deeply with hematoxylin. In the nucleus. there is a large amount of chromatin, which tends to aggregate into four to five major clumps and one or two globules or vacuoles.

Cells of mesonephric origin: These cells arise from Bowman's capsule of the mesoncphros. They are designated as type C-II cells (fig. 39, pl. 8), and are first seen streaming from the glomerular capsule across the ventral portion of the early primordium (figs. 14, 15, pl. 2). The type C-II cells and their successors form most of the adrenal capsule, and, during horizon xxiii, are diverted inward by the arteriolar capillaries. Thereafter, they are found in the cords of cells within the cortex. Their nucleus is round, and stains a little more deeply than does that of type C-I. The chromatin is distributed in fine strands in a spider-like manner just beneath the nuclear membranes, the nucleolus corresponding to the body of the spider. The center of the nucleus is occupied by one or more large globules or vacuoles.

Immigration and migration: The passage of cells from one region to another; the addition of cells by movement from an adjacent region. Ameboid movement is not implied.

Invasion: The entrance of cells after destruction or disruption of pre-existing tissue, and the assumption of position without rcference to former relations.

Staging of embryos: The dating of the embryos follows the horizons described and graphed by Streeter (1951). This method of seriation affords a much better concept of the progress of development than does measurement of the length. Frequently, the organogenesis of the adrenal gland was found to be in a much further advanced stage in an embryo with a shorter crown-rump length than in a longer one, particularly in the earlier stages when the dorsal curvature varies so remarkably among embryos in the same horizon. This finding speaks well for the method, since Streeter did not use the adrenal among his criteria for staging. The age in weeks is the estimated conception age. To obtain menstrual age, two weeks must be added. There are enough stages to provide a consecutive account of the organogenesis of the adrenal.

Materials and Methods

The following embryos of the Carnegie Collection were selected for the study of the embryonic and early fetal development of the adrenal gland.

(table to be formatted)

Serial no. Crown-Rump Length (mm) Plane of section Histological condition Stain
Horizon xiii
836 4.0 Trans. Exc. A1. coch.
7433 5.2 Frontal Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8066 5.3 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8119 5.3 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
Horizon xiv
3805 5.9 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
6502 6.7 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
7324 6.6 Trans. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
7829 7.0 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
7370 7.2 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8314 8.2 Trans. Exc. Azan
Horizon xv
2 7.0 Trans. Good Al. carm.
721 9.0 Trans. lixc.
3385 8.3 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) or G.
3441 8.0 Sag. Exc. Al. coch.
3512 S 5 Trans. Exc. Al. coch.
6504 7 5 Sag. Exc. Al. coch.
6508 7.3 Trans. Good Al. coch.
6595. 3.0 Sag. Good I-1.-17..
7199 8.-'1 Frontal Good Al. coch. phloxine
7364 9 5 Frontal Poor 1-1.-17..
8929 6 3 Frontal Exc. Azan
8997 9 0 Trans. Exc. Azan
9140 7 0 Trans. Exc. Azan
Horizon xvi
792 8 0 Trans. Good Al. coch.
6511 8.1 Sag. Good Al. coch. iron H.
6512 70 Trans. Exc. Al. coch.
6517 10.5 Trans. Exc. Al. coch.
7115 9.7 Frontal Exc. H. and pltloxinc
7804 9.5 Trans. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
7897 12 2 Trans. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8773 ll 0 Frontal Exc. Azan
Horizon xvii
940 14.0 Trans. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) or G.
5893 13 2 Trans. Good Al. coch.
6253 1-10 Trans. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
6519 0 3 Sag. Exc. Al. coch.
6520 14 2 Trans. Exc. Al. coch.
6742 11 0 Trans. Good H.-phloxine
6758 12 8 Trans. Good H.-phloxine
8101 13.0 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
811$ 12.6 Frontal Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8789 ll 7 Sag. Exc. Azan
3998 11 0 Frontal Exc. Azan
Horizon xviii
-192 16.3 Frontal Exc. Al. coch.
1909 14.6 Frontal Good Al. coch. or G.
4430 4.0 Trans. Exc. Al. coch. or G.
6524 11.7 Trans. Exc. Al. coch.
6525 3.8 Sag. Exc. Al. coch.
6527 4.4 Trans. Exc. Al. coch.
6528 3.4 Frontal Exc. Al. coch.
7707 4 5 Trans. Exc. 1-1.—F.. phloxine
8172 16 5 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8312 2.2 Trans. Exc. I-1.717..
9247 5.0 Sag. Exc. Azan
Horizon xix
1909 15 5 Trans. Good Coch. l\1allor_\-'
4501 80 Trans. Exc. Coclt. or G.
5609. . 18 0 Frontal Exc. Al. coch.
6150 17.0 Trans. Good
632-l 8.5 Sag. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8092 16 3 Trans. Exc. I-1.-E. phlo.\;ine
9113 18 5 Trans. Exc. Azan
Horizon xx
966 23.0 Frontal Exc. Al. coch.
5537 22.0 Trans. Fxc. Al. coch.
6202. 21.0 Sag. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
7274 8 3 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) phloxinc
7906 19.5 Frontal Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8226 8.0 Sag. Exc. Azan
Horizon xxi
5596 21.5 Sag. Good I-1.-Ii.
7251 22.5 Trans. Exc.
7392 22.7 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
7864 24 0 Frontal Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
8553 22.0 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
Horizon xxii
1458 27.5 Sag. Exc. or G
430-1 25 0 Trans. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
4638 23.4 Trans. Exc. Al. coch
6701 24.0 Frontal Poor (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
6832 25.8 Frontal Exc. I-1..F_.
339-1 25 3 Trans. Exc. I1.-I’.
Horizon xxiii
4205 29.5 Trans. Good Al coch
4289 32.2 Trans. Good Al coch
4570 30.7 Trans. Exc. (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
5122 27.0 Sag. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
5621 27.5 Trans. Good
6573 31.5 Trans. Good (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)
6719 30.1 Trans. Good Chrom.alum hem.
7425 27.0 Frontal Exc. Chrom.alum hem.
9226 30.1 Trans. Exc. Azan


Plate 1

Crowder1957 plate01.jpg

Plate 2

Crowder1957 plate02.jpg

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2020, June 3) Embryology Paper - The development of the adrenal gland in man. Retrieved from

What Links Here?
© Dr Mark Hill 2020, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G