Modifications of Adrenal Gland Ultrastructure in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Model Rats

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Sani Baimai; Phrae Bhanichkul; Passara Lanlua; Apichaya Niyomchan & Sirinush Sricharoenvej


The adrenal gland has been associated with the development of classical symptoms in diabetes mellitus (DM), including intensive polyuria and hyperglycemia. During DM, there are hormonal changes in the adrenal gland. Ultrastructural changes of adrenocortical and adrenal medulla cells and their effects on adrenocorticomedullary interaction have not been fully investigated. This study evaluated adrenocortical and adrenal medullary cells and adrenocorticomedullary interactions at ultrastructural levels in a streptozotocin-induced DM model, using transmission electron microscopy. Fifteen male, Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into diabetic model (n = 10) and control (n = 5) groups. Rats were sacrificed at four weeks after induction. The nuclei of some diabetic cortical cells were found to be irregularly shaped. In the cytoplasm, increased numbers of mitochondria and dilated smooth endoplasmic reticulum were observed. However, lipid droplets decreased in the DM model animals. The filopodia of diabetic cortical cells extended to contact the fenestrated capillary and other cortical cells and losses of gap junctions were also observed. Alterations of diabetic chromaffin cells resulted in similar appearances, consisting of irregularly shaped nuclei, swollen mitochondria, distended rough endoplasmic reticulum, and disrupted chromaffin vesicles. Examining adrenocorticomedullary interactions showed that the diabetic cortical chromaffin cells resembled those in the medulla. In the DM model group, collagen fibril depositions were observed between adrenal cells, especially near cell interactions. The filopodia of diabetic cortical cells were larger than those observed for diabetic adrenocorticomedullary interactions and adrenal cortex. These adrenal gland ultrastructural modifications represent contributions to the basic knowledge necessary for investigations of adrenal gland impairment during the early diagnosis of DM patients.

KEY WORDS: Adrenal gland; Adrenocorticomedullary interactions; Streptozotocin; Diabetes mellitus; Rat.

How to cite this article

BAIMAI, S.; BHANICHKUL, P.; LANLUA, P.; NIYOMCHAN, A. & SRICHAROENVEJ, S. Modifications of adrenal gland ultrastructure in streptozotocin-induced diabetic model rats. Int. J. Morphol., 39(1):109-115, 2021.