Transition from organogenesis to stem cell maintenance in the mouse adrenal cortex

Su-Ping Chang, John J Mullins, Steven D Morley, John D West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mice showing mosaic expression of an appropriate marker gene that is activated during development provide simple tools for investigating cell lineages. We used the mosaic β-galactosidase staining patterns in adrenal cortices of 21OH/ LacZ transgenic mice to study both organogenesis and maintenance of the adult tissue. Randomly orientated mosaic patterns present in embryonic day 14.5 (E14.5) adrenals changed progressively during the perinatal period from discrete spots, via patches and radial arrays, to radial stripes, which first emerged between postnatal days 0 and 7 (P0 and P7). The mosaic radial stripe pattern was fully established by P21 and remained unchanged throughout the adult period (8-52 weeks). The mouse adrenal gland grew continuously between E14.5 and P21, including the period during which stripes emerge. Ki67-positive, proliferative cells in the adrenal cortex were mainly localized to the outer cell layers between E18.5 and P3. By P10, cell proliferation had increased, and the proliferative region had expanded but was still mainly confined to the outer cortex. Correlation of changes in mosaic patterns in 21OH/LacZ adrenal cortices with the locations of adrenocortical cell proliferation suggest that the radial stripes arise by edge-biased growth during the perinatal period, even if they are maintained by stem cells in adults. The stability of the adult stripe pattern suggests that stem cell function is unchanged between 8 and 52 weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-280
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2011


  • Adrenal Cortex
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Body Patterning
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological
  • Organogenesis
  • Stem Cells
  • beta-Galactosidase


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