Nestin expression in normal adrenal gland and adrenocortical tumors

Histol Histopathol. 2005 Oct;20(4):1115-20. doi: 10.14670/HH-20.1115.


Human adrenocortical cells have been shown to express cytokeratins and vimentin. Nestin is an intermediate filament protein that is mainly expressed in the developing nervous system and that has been recently reported in rat adrenal gland as well. Using immunohistochemical and biochemical approaches, the present study demonstrates that nestin is constantly expressed in situ in the cortex of normal human adrenal glands. Nestin expressing cells were prevalently located in the zona reticularis but some positive cells could be spotted in the zona fasciculata as well. Moreover, patches of nestin-positive cells have been constantly detected on sections of cortical adenomas. In contrast, adrenal carcinomas displayed a variable number of nestin-immunoreactive cells that in some cases were virtually absent. Samples of renal clear cell carcinoma metastasis in the adrenals were also examined which did not show nestin-immunoreactivity. We propose that a positive nestin-immunoreaction could be useful in differential diagnosis of clear cell tumors in adrenal glands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / pathology
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / pathology
  • Adrenal Glands / metabolism*
  • Adrenal Glands / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blotting, Western
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nestin
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • NES protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nes protein, rat
  • Nestin