The contribution of the adrenal gland to the development of the spontaneous syndrome of obesity and diabetes in Yellow-KK (Y-KK) mice was studied. Six-month old Y-KK mice exhibited hyperadrenocorticism and adrenal cortex enlargement. Light microscopic morphometric studies of Y-KK adrenals revealed an expanded volume of the adrenal cortex resulting from hyperplasia of zona fasciculata and reticularis cells. Ultrastructural studies revealed fewer lipid droplets, increased numbers of mitochondria and a more extensively developed Golgi system within zona fasciculata and reticularis cells. This cytological evidence of enhanced steroid biosynthetic and secretory activity was consistent with increased levels of plasma immunoreactive corticosterone. Structural and functional abnormalities of Y-KK adrenals were preceded by the development of obesity, hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia. It is unlikely, therefore, that the adrenal plays a causal role in the syndrome's pathogenesis, although, hyperadrenocorticism may be in part responsible for an exacerbation of the observed phenomena.
- Yellow-KK mice
- adrenal cortex hyperplasia