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Indian Journal of Clinical Anatomy and Physiology

Histogenesis of neuroblastic nodules and giant epithelial cells of fetal adrenal glands

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Author Details: Anandi N. Bande, MA Doshi, RB Vaidya, PS Patil, NR Mudiraj

Volume : 4

Issue : 3

Online ISSN : 2394-2126

Print ISSN : 2394-2118

Article First Page : 290

Article End Page : 294


The development of adrenal gland is complex and fascinating. The cortex shows migrating neuroblastic nodules derived from neural crest cells which are described in literature as “in situ neuroblastoma”.
Aim: The present study was undertaken to highlight neuroblastic nodules and giant epithelial cells in fetal adrenal glands at different gestational weeks.
Materials and Method: Adrenal glands were dissected in thirty spontaneously aborted normal human fetuses fixed in 10% formalin with gestational age ranging from 11 weeks to 35 weeks. After tissue processing, paraffin blocks were prepared and sections stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin. Multiple serial sections were observed to note average number of neuroblastic nodules per field, size, location and degenerative changes if any in the nodules.
Observations and Results: The developing adrenal gland showed parenchyma with a thick fetal cortex showing migrating neuroblastic nodules and giant epithelial cells in the background. It was seen that they increased in number as the gestational age advanced but after 20- 21 weeks of gestation their number went on decreasing.
Conclusion: Knowledge of the behaviour of neuroblastic nodules and their fate gives an additional dimension to the histogenesis of adrenal gland. The spontaneous regression of such nodule or persistence and progression to neuroblastoma may be of great clinical significance.

Neuroblastic nodule, Giant epithelial cells, Fetal adrenal glands