A multipotent stem cell population in the adult adrenal medulla mediates stress response
The neural crest derived adrenal medulla is closely related to the sympathetic nervous system; however, unlike neural tissue, it is characterized by high plasticity which suggests the involvement of stem cells. In this study, by using two transgenic mouse models, Nestin-GFP and the inducible Nestin-CreER:Rosa26YFP, we define a pool of multipotent glia-like nestin-GFP expressing progenitor cells in the adult adrenal medulla, which contribute to its plasticity. The adrenal plays a central role in response to stress. However, the role of adrenomedullary progenitor cells in stress adaptation has not been studied so far. Our results from stress experiments in vivo show the activation and differentiation of these progenitors into new chromaffin cells. In summary, we demonstrate the involvement of a new glia-like multipotent stem cell population in adrenal tissue adaptation. Our data also suggest the contribution of stem and progenitor cells in the adaptation of neuroendocrine tissue function in general.