Chromaffin cell

Chromaffin cell

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Chromaffin cell'
Start a new discussion about 'Chromaffin cell'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Chromaffin cells are neuroendocrine cell
Neuroendocrine cell
Neuroendocrine cells are cells that receive neuronal input and, as a consequence of this input, release message molecules to the blood. In this way they bring about an integration between the nervous system and the endocrine system, a process known as neuroendocrine integration...

s found in the medulla
Adrenal medulla
The adrenal medulla is part of the adrenal gland. It is located at the center of the gland, being surrounded by the adrenal cortex. It is the innermost part of the adrenal gland, consisting of cells that secrete epinephrine , norepinephrine , and a small amount of dopamine in response to...

 of the adrenal gland
Adrenal gland
In mammals, the adrenal glands are endocrine glands that sit atop the kidneys; in humans, the right suprarenal gland is triangular shaped, while the left suprarenal gland is semilunar shaped...

 (suprarenal gland, located above the kidneys) and in other ganglia
Autonomic ganglion
Autonomic ganglia are clusters of neuronal cell bodies and their dendrites and are essentially a junction between autonomic nerves originating from the central nervous system and autonomic nerves innervating their target organs in the periphery....

 of the sympathetic nervous system
Sympathetic nervous system
The sympathetic nervous system is one of the three parts of the autonomic nervous system, along with the enteric and parasympathetic systems. Its general action is to mobilize the body's nervous system fight-or-flight response...

. They are modified post-synaptic sympathetic neurons that receive sympathetic input. Instead of releasing neurotransmitter (catecholamines
Catecholamine
Catecholamines are molecules that have a catechol nucleus consisting of benzene with two hydroxyl side groups and a side-chain amine. They include dopamine, as well as the "fight-or-flight" hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline released by the adrenal medulla of the adrenal glands in response to...

 - ~20% Norepinephrine
Norepinephrine
Norepinephrine is the US name for noradrenaline , a catecholamine with multiple roles including as a hormone and a neurotransmitter...

 (Noradrenaline) and ~80% Epinephrine
Epinephrine
Epinephrine is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels, dilates air passages and participates in the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. In chemical terms, adrenaline is one of a group of monoamines called the catecholamines...

 (Adrenaline)) to an adjacent organ or tissue for a specific effect, neurotransmitter is released into systemic circulation
Systemic circulation
Systemic circulation is the part of the cardiovascular system which carries oxygenated blood away from the heart to the body, and returns deoxygenated blood back to the heart. This physiologic theory of circulation was first described by William Harvey...

 for systemic effects on multiple organs. Hence they are called neuroendocrine cells.

In the fifth week of (human) fetal development, neuroblast
Neuroblast
A neuroblast is a dividing cell that will develop into neurons or glia. The characterisation of neuroblasts and their development in Drosophila melanogaster was widely achieved by Chris Doe, Corey Goodman and Mike Bate. In humans, neuroblasts produced by stem cells in the adult subventricular zone...

 cells migrate from the neural crest
Neural crest
Neural crest cells are a transient, multipotent, migratory cell population unique to vertebrates that gives rise to a diverse cell lineage including melanocytes, craniofacial cartilage and bone, smooth muscle, peripheral and enteric neurons and glia....

 to form the sympathetic chain
Sympathetic nervous system
The sympathetic nervous system is one of the three parts of the autonomic nervous system, along with the enteric and parasympathetic systems. Its general action is to mobilize the body's nervous system fight-or-flight response...

 and preaortic ganglia. The cells migrate a second time to the adrenal medulla
Adrenal medulla
The adrenal medulla is part of the adrenal gland. It is located at the center of the gland, being surrounded by the adrenal cortex. It is the innermost part of the adrenal gland, consisting of cells that secrete epinephrine , norepinephrine , and a small amount of dopamine in response to...

. Chromaffin cells also settle near the sympathetic ganglia, vagus nerve, paraganglia, and carotid arteries. In lower concentrations, extra-adrenal chromaffin cells also reside in the bladder
Bladder
Bladder usually refers to an anatomical hollow organBladder may also refer to:-Biology:* Urinary bladder in humans** Urinary bladder ** Bladder control; see Urinary incontinence** Artificial urinary bladder, in humans...

 wall, prostate
Prostate
The prostate is a compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system in most mammals....

, and behind the liver
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

.

Function


Chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla are innervated by the splanchnic nerve and secrete adrenaline (epinephrine
Epinephrine
Epinephrine is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels, dilates air passages and participates in the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. In chemical terms, adrenaline is one of a group of monoamines called the catecholamines...

), noradrenaline (norepinephrine
Norepinephrine
Norepinephrine is the US name for noradrenaline , a catecholamine with multiple roles including as a hormone and a neurotransmitter...

), and enkephalin
Enkephalin
An enkephalin is a pentapeptide involved in regulating nociception in the body. The enkephalins are termed endogenous ligands, or specifically endorphins, as they are internally derived and bind to the body's opioid receptors. Discovered in 1975, two forms of enkephalin were revealed, one...

 and enkephalin-containing peptides into the blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

 stream. The secreted adrenaline and noradrenaline play an important role in the fight-or-flight response
Fight-or-flight response
The fight-or-flight response was first described by Walter Bradford Cannon....

. The enkephalins and enkephalin-containing peptides are related to, but distinct from endogenous peptides named endorphins (which are secreted from the pituitary); all of these peptides bind to opioid receptors and produce analgesic (and other) responses. The hormones are secreted from granules; this is where the enzyme dopamine β-hydroxylase catalyzes the conversion of dopamine
Dopamine
Dopamine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter present in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the brain, this substituted phenethylamine functions as a neurotransmitter, activating the five known types of dopamine receptors—D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5—and their...

 to noradrenaline. Distinct N and E cell forms exist (also Na and A cells in British nomenclature - noradrenaline and adrenaline); the former produce norepinephrine, the latter arise out of N cells through interaction with glucocorticoids, and convert norepinephrine into epinephrine.

Nomenclature


These cell
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

s are so-named because they can be visualized by stain
Stain
A stain is a discoloration that can be clearly distinguished from the surface, material, or medium it is found upon. Stains are caused by the chemical or physical interaction of two dissimilar materials...

ing with chromium
Chromium
Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is also odorless, tasteless, and malleable...

 salts. Chromaffin salts oxidize and polymerize catecholamines to form a brown color, most strongly in the cells secreting noradrenaline.

(The enterochromaffin cells are so named because of their histological similarity to chromaffin cells (they also stain yellow when treated with chromium salts), but their function is quite different.)

External links

- "Endocrine System: adrenal gland, reticularis and medulla"