Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Nervous Start
15 August 2017

Nervous Start

We’re all adrenaline junkies. We rely on the buzz it brings during moments of intense activity, and its guiding influence over our body’s daily rhythms. Any glitches in its production can have major health impacts so there’s lots to be gained by understanding how the adrenal gland – the hormone factory that sits on the kidneys – is constructed. Early in human development, cells from a variety of places come together to form the gland, and now we know that some zoom into place along a highway of nerves like those highlighted in pink in this developing mouse embryo. They take a temporary form as cells (stained cyan) that typically develop into Schwann cells, which are found wrapped around nerves all over our body. It’s only when they arrive at their destination that they evolve into their final form, ready to give you a burst of adrenaline when the occasion demands.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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