Gland, adrenal
One of a pair of small glands, each of which sits on top of one of the kidneys. The adrenal is made up of an outer wall (the cortex) and an inner portion (the medulla). The adrenal glands produce hormones that help control the heart rate, blood pressure, the way the body uses food, and other vital functions. The adrenal cortex secretes steroid (cortisone-related) hormones and the mineralocortoids that regulate the levels of minerals such as sodium and potassium in the blood. The adrenal medulla makes epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Epinephrine is secreted in response to low blood levels of glucose as well as exercise and stress; it causes the breakdown of the storage product glycogen to the sugar glucose in the liver, facilitates the release of fatty acids from adipose (fat) tissue, causes dilation (widening) of the small arteries within muscle and increases the output of the heart. Norepinephrine secreted by the adrenal gland acts to narrow blood vessels and raise blood pressure. The name "adrenal" comes from the Latin "ad-", toward + "rebes", kidney. It refers to the perch of this gland atop the kidney. The adrenals are also called the suprarenal glands, "supra-" in Latin meaning "on top."

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Adrenal cortex — Layers of cortex. Latin cortex glandulae suprarenalis Gray s …   Wikipedia

  • adrenal cortex — noun the cortex of the adrenal gland; secretes corticosterone and sex hormones • Hypernyms: ↑cortex, ↑endocrine gland, ↑endocrine, ↑ductless gland • Part Holonyms: ↑adrenal gland, ↑adrenal, ↑suprarenal gland …   Useful english dictionary

  • adrenal medulla — noun the medulla of the adrenal gland; secretes epinephrine • Hypernyms: ↑medulla, ↑endocrine gland, ↑endocrine, ↑ductless gland • Part Holonyms: ↑adrenal gland, ↑adrenal, ↑suprarenal gland …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Adrenal medulla — Medulla labeled at bottom right. Gray s subject #277 1280 Ar …   Wikipedia

  • Adrenal fatigue — is putative health disorder in which the adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily cortisol, the stress hormone of the body. Adrenal fatigue is not a recognized medical diagnosis. [cite web |url …   Wikipedia

  • adrenal body — adrenal gland or adrenal body, either of two very small ductless glands, one on the upper part of each kidney, that secrete adrenalin; suprarenal gland. The outer layer or cortex secretes corticosterone and other important steroid hormones and… …   Useful english dictionary

  • adrenal — [ə drē′nəl] adj. [ AD + RENAL] 1. near the kidneys 2. of or from the adrenal glands n. an adrenal gland …   English World dictionary

  • adrenal gland — n. either of a pair of endocrine organs lying immediately above the kidney, consisting of an inner medulla which produces epinephrine and norepinephrine and an outer cortex which produces a variety of steroid hormones: see KIDNEY …   English World dictionary

  • adrenal — (adj.) of or near the kidneys, 1866, Modern Latin, from AD (Cf. ad ) + renalis of the kidneys, from L. renes kidneys. Adrenal gland is from 1875 …   Etymology dictionary

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