Aldosterone-Producing Cell Clusters Frequently Harbor Somatic Mutations and Accumulate With Age in Normal Adrenals.
ABSTRACT: Context:Aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) immunohistochemistry and next-generation sequencing (NGS) have revealed the frequent presence of aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs) harboring somatic mutations in aldosterone-regulating genes in adrenals from Americans without defined hypertension status. Objective:Determine the frequency and somatic mutation status of APCCs in a Japanese nonhypertensive cohort. Design Setting Patients and Interventions:Adrenals from 837 consecutive autopsies at a Japanese institution, Tohoku University Hospital, were screened to select 107 unilateral adrenal glands from nonhypertensive patients. APCC score (APCC number/adrenal cortex area per case) was assessed by CYP11B2 immunohistochemistry. DNA from all APCCs and adjacent adrenal cortex was subjected to NGS using two panels targeting aldosterone-regulating genes. Primary Outcome Measure:APCC frequency and somatic mutation spectrum. Results:In 107 adrenals, 61 APCCs were detected (average of 0.6 APCCs per gland). APCC score was positively correlated with age (r = 0.50, P < 0.0001). NGS demonstrated high confidence somatic mutations in 21 of 61 APCCs (34%). Notably, 16 of 21 APCCs (76%) harbored somatic mutations in CACNA1D, the most frequently mutated gene in our previous studies of APCCs in Americans and CYP11B2-positive micronodules in cross-sectional imaging (computed tomography) negative primary aldosteronism (PA), whereas no APCCs harbored mutations in KCNJ5, the most frequently mutated gene in aldosterone-producing adenoma. APCC score was significantly lower than our previous cohort of unilateral computed tomography-negative PA. Conclusions:APCCs are frequent in nonhypertensive Japanese adrenals, accumulate with age, and frequently harbor somatic mutations (most commonly in CACNA1D). The role of APCCs in PA pathobiology and non-PA hypertension warrants further investigation.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism (PA) represents the most common cause of secondary hypertension, but little is known regarding its adrenal cellular origins. Recently, aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs) with high expression of aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) were found in both normal and PA adrenal tissue. PA-causing aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) harbor mutations in genes encoding ion channels/pumps that alter intracellular calcium homeostasis and cause renin-independent aldosterone production through increased CYP11B2 expression. Herein, we hypothesized that APCCs have APA-related aldosterone-stimulating somatic gene mutations. APCCs were studied in 42 normal adrenals from kidney donors. To clarify APCC molecular characteristics, we used microarrays to compare the APCC transcriptome with conventional adrenocortical zones [zona glomerulosa (ZG), zona fasciculata, and zona reticularis]. The APCC transcriptome was most similar to ZG but with an enhanced capacity to produce aldosterone. To determine if APCCs harbored APA-related mutations, we performed targeted next generation sequencing of DNA from 23 APCCs and adjacent normal adrenal tissue isolated from both formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded, and frozen tissues. Known aldosterone driver mutations were identified in 8 of 23 (35%) APCCs, including mutations in calcium channel, voltage-dependent, L-type, α1D-subunit (CACNA1D; 6 of 23 APCCs) and ATPase, Na(+)/(K+) transporting, α1-polypeptide (ATP1A1; 2 of 23 APCCs), which were not observed in the adjacent normal adrenal tissue. Overall, we show three major findings: (i) APCCs are common in normal adrenals, (ii) APCCs harbor somatic mutations known to cause excess aldosterone production, and (iii) the mutation spectrum of aldosterone-driving mutations is different in APCCs from that seen in APA. These results provide molecular support for APCC as a precursor of PA.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism affects ?5% to 10% of hypertensive patients and has unilateral and bilateral forms. Most unilateral primary aldosteronism is caused by computed tomography-detectable aldosterone-producing adenomas, which express CYP11B2 (aldosterone synthase) and frequently harbor somatic mutations in aldosterone-regulating genes. The cause of the most common bilateral form of primary aldosteronism, idiopathic hyperaldosteronism (IHA), is believed to be diffuse hyperplasia of aldosterone-producing cells within the adrenal cortex. Herein, a multi-institution cohort of 15 IHA adrenals was examined with CYP11B2 immunohistochemistry and next-generation sequencing. CYP11B2 immunoreactivity in adrenal glomerulosa harboring non-nodular hyperplasia was only observed in 4/15 IHA adrenals suggesting that hyperplasia of CYP11B2-expressing cells may not be the major cause of IHA. However, the adrenal cortex of all IHA adrenals harbored at least 1 CYP11B2-positive aldosterone-producing cell cluster (APCC) or micro-aldosterone-producing adenomas. The number of APCCs per case (and individual APCC area) in IHA adrenals was significantly larger than in normotensive controls. Next-generation sequencing of DNA from 99 IHA APCCs demonstrated somatic mutations in genes encoding the L-type calcium voltage-gated channel subunit ? 1-D ( CACNA1D, n=57; 58%) and potassium voltage-gated channel subfamily J-5 ( KCNJ5, n=1; 1%). These data suggest that IHA may result from not only hyperplasia but also the accumulation or enlargement of computed tomography-undetectable APCC harboring somatic aldosterone-driver gene mutations. The high prevalence of mutations in the CACNA1D L-type calcium channel provides a potential actionable therapeutic target that could complement mineralocorticoid blockade and inhibit aldosterone overproduction in some IHA patients.
Project description:Background. The immunohistochemical detection of aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) and steroid 11?-hydroxylase (CYP11B1) has enabled the identification of aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs) in the subcapsular portion of the human adult adrenal cortex. We hypothesized that adrenals have layered zonation in early postnatal stages and are remodeled to possess APCCs over time. Purposes. To investigate changes in human adrenocortical zonation with age. Methods. We retrospectively analyzed adrenal tissues prepared from 33 autopsied patients aged between 0 and 50 years. They were immunostained for CYP11B2 and CYP11B1. The percentage of APCC areas over the whole adrenal area (AA/WAA, %) and the number of APCCs (NOA, APCCs/mm2) were calculated by four examiners. Average values were used in statistical analyses. Results. Adrenals under 11 years old had layered zona glomerulosa (ZG) and zona fasciculata (ZF) without apparent APCCs. Some adrenals had an unstained (CYP11B2/CYP11B1-negative) layer between ZG and ZF, resembling the rat undifferentiated cell zone. Average AA/WAA and NOA correlated with age, suggesting that APCC development is associated with aging. Possible APCC-to-APA transitional lesions were incidentally identified in two adult adrenals. Conclusions. The adrenal cortex with layered zonation remodels to possess APCCs over time. APCC generation may be associated with hypertension in adults.
Project description:Immunohistochemistry of human aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) has revealed that most of aldosterone is autonomously produced in aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs) beneath the capsule of adult adrenals rather than physiologically in the zona glomerulosa (ZG). APCCs have been occasionally found to harbor a somatic mutation of ion channel/pump genes, and number and size of APCCs increase with age until 50 years old. Herein, the objective of the study was to examine APCC development in 106 autopsied adrenals from 85 elderly individuals who died at ages from 50 to 103 years. We obtained the following results: (1) physiological CYP11B2 expression in ZG were attenuated in more elderly persons; (2) number and size of APCCs decreased with age; (3) detachment of APCC from the capsule appeared to occur occasionally over the wide range of the ages; and (4) incidental micro aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) and possible APCC-to-APA transitional lesions (pAATLs) were found primarily in samples from persons aged 50-60 years but not in samples from more elderly persons; pAATL was a putative designation based on our previous results indicating that it consisted of subcapsular APCC-like portion and inner APA-like portions. Thus, the formation of the CYP11B2-expressing lesions as well as thickening of the ZG in the adrenals were inversely correlated with age of death in the individuals aged over 50 years. Considering that autopsy samples were used in this study, inactive production of aldosterone regardless of autonomous or physiological manners may have survival advantages in individuals aged over 50 years.
Project description:The use of next-generation sequencing has resulted in the identification of recurrent somatic mutations underlying primary aldosteronism (PA). However, significant gaps remain in our understanding of the relationship between tumor aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) expression and somatic mutation status.The objective of the study was to investigate tumor CYP11B2 expression and somatic aldosterone-driver gene mutation heterogeneity.Fifty-one adrenals from 51 PA patients were studied. Immunohistochemistry for CYP11B2 was performed. Aldosterone-producing adenomas with intratumor CYP11B2 heterogeneity were analyzed for mutation status using targeted next-generation sequencing. DNA was isolated from CYP11B2-positive, CYP11B2-negative, and adjacent normal areas from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections.Of 51 adrenals, seven (14 %) showed distinct heterogeneity in CYP11B2 by immunohistochemistry, including six adenomas with intratumor heterogeneity and one multinodular hyperplastic adrenal with both CYP11B2-positive and -negative nodules. Of the six adrenocortical adenomas with CYP11B2 heterogeneity, three had aldosterone-regulating mutations (CACNA1D p.F747C, KCNJ5 p.L168R, ATP1A1 p.L104R) only in CYP11B2-positive regions, and one had two different mutations localized to two histologically distinct CYP11B2-positive regions (ATP2B3 p.L424_V425del, KCNJ5 p.G151R). Lastly, one adrenal with multiple CYP11B2-expressing nodules showed different mutations in each (CACNA1D p.F747V and ATP1A1 p.L104R), and no mutations were identified in CYP11B2-negative nodule or adjacent normal adrenal.Adrenal tumors in patients with PA can demonstrate clear heterogeneity in CYP11B2 expression and somatic mutations in driver genes for aldosterone production. These findings suggest that aldosterone-producing adenoma tumorigenesis can occur within preexisting nodules through the acquisition of somatic mutations that drive aldosterone production.
Project description:Adrenal glands removed for unilateral primary aldosteronism (PA) display marked histological heterogeneity. Recently reported somatic mutations in KCNJ5, ATP1A1, ATP2B3 and CACNA1D can partially account for these differences. In this study we aimed at combining phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, integrating genetic and immunohistochemistry correlates in sporadic PA. Seventy-one adrenal glands have been included in the study and analyzed for mutations in KCNJ5, ATP1A1, ATP2B3 and CACNA1D. Histological examination and immunohistochemical staining for CYP11B1 (11?-hydroxylase) and CYP11B2 (aldosterone synthase) were performed on aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) and adjacent adrenal cortex. In our cohort, the final histopathological diagnosis was multinodular hyperplasia in 22.5% of the patients and single nodule in 77.5%. Forty-five percent of the removed adrenals displayed extra-APA CYP11B2-positive cell nests (B2-CN). Among adrenal vein sampling parameters the suppression of contralateral adrenal was more frequent and the lateralization index was higher in the subgroup of patients without extra-APA B2-CN compared to the subgroup with extra-APA B2-CN. KCNJ5-mutated APAs were composed mainly of zona fasciculata-like cells with high expression of CYP11B1, while ATP1A1, ATP2B3 and CACNA1D-mutated APAs presented more frequently a zona-glomerulosa-like phenotype with high expression of CYP11B2. We observed a significant inverse correlation between CYP11B2 expression and the size of the nodules and, if CYP11B2 expression was corrected for tumor volume, a significant correlation with plasma aldosterone and aldosterone to renin ratio. Our findings indicate that combination of genotyping and immunohistochemistry improves the final histopathological diagnosis between single nodule and multinodular hyperplasia of the assessed adrenals.
Project description:Our group previously purified human and rat aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2 and Cyp11b2, respectively) from their adrenals and verified that it is distinct from steroid 11?-hydroxylase (CYP11B1 or Cyp11b1), the cortisol- or corticosterone-synthesizing enzyme. We now describe their distributions immunohistochemically with specific antibodies. In rats, there is layered functional zonation with the Cyp11b2-positive zona glomerulosa (ZG), Cyp11b1-positive zona fasciculata (ZF), and Cyp11b2/Cyp11b1-negative undifferentiated zone between the ZG and ZF. In human infants and children (<12 years old), the functional zonation is similar to that in rats. In adults, the adrenal cortex remodels and subcapsular aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs) replace the continuous ZG layer. We recently reported possible APCC-to-APA transitional lesions (pAATLs) in 2 cases of unilateral multiple adrenocortical micro-nodules. In this review, we present 4 additional cases of primary aldosteronism, from which the extracted adrenals contain pAATLs, with results of next generation sequencing for these lesions. Immunohistochemistry for CYP11B2 and CYP11B1 has become an important tool for the diagnosis of and research on adrenocortical pathological conditions and suggests that APCCs may be the origin of aldosterone-producing adenoma.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism is the most common form of secondary hypertension. Somatic mutations in KCNJ5, ATP1A1, ATP2B3, and CACNA1D are found in aldosterone-producing adenoma. In addition, adrenals with aldosterone-producing adenomas show cortical remodeling and frequently multiple secondary nodules. Our aim was to investigate whether different aldosterone-producing nodules from the same adrenal share the same mutational status. Aldosterone synthase expression was assessed in multinodular adrenals from 27 patients. DNA of 37 aldosterone-producing secondary nodules was extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues and genotyped for KCNJ5, ATP1A1, ATP2B3, and CACNA1D mutations. Among 17 adrenals with a somatic mutation in the principal nodule, 4 showed the same mutation in a secondary nodule, whereas 10 had no mutation in any of the known genes. In 1 adrenal harboring the KCNJ5 p.Gly151Arg mutation in the principal nodule, the same mutation was present in 2 secondary nodules, but no mutation was found in a third nodule. Finally, in 2 adrenals with a CACNA1D mutation in the principal nodule, a KCNJ5 mutation was identified in the secondary nodule. Among 10 adrenals without mutations in the principal nodule, 1 carried a KCNJ5 mutation in the secondary nodule. No mutations were detected in 7 aldosterone-producing cell clusters from 6 adrenals. No association was observed between the presence of mutations in secondary nodules and clinical parameters. In conclusion, different mutations are found in different aldosterone-producing nodules from the same adrenal, suggesting that somatic mutations are independent events triggered by mechanisms that remain to be identified.
Project description:Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation is recommended in adrenal vein sampling (AVS) for primary aldosteronism (PA) to improve the AVS success rate. However, this method can confound the subtype diagnosis. Gene mutations or pathological characteristics may be related to lateralization by AVS. This study aimed to compare the rate of diagnostic discrepancy by AVS pre- versus post-ACTH stimulation and to investigate the relationship between this discrepancy and findings from immunohistochemical and genetic analyses of PA. We evaluated 195 cases of AVS performed in 2011-2017. All surgical specimens were analyzed genetically and immunohistochemically. Based on the criteria, AVS was successful in 158 patients both pre- and post-ACTH; of these patients, 75 showed diagnostic discrepancies between pre- and post-ACTH. Thus, 19 patients underwent unilateral adrenalectomy, of whom 16 had an aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA) that was positive for CYP11B2 immunostaining. Of them, 10 patients had discordant lateralization between pre- and post-ACTH. In the genetic analysis, the rate of somatic mutations was not significantly different between APA patients with versus without a diagnostic discrepancy. In the immunohistochemical analysis, CYP11B2 levels and the frequency of aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs) in APAs were almost identical between patients with versus without a diagnostic discrepancy. However, both the number and summed area of APCCs in APAs were significantly smaller in patients with concordant results than in those whose diagnosis changed to bilateral PA post-ACTH stimulation. In conclusion, lateralization by AVS was affected by APCCs in the adjacent gland, but not by APA-related factors such as somatic gene mutations.
Project description:Somatic mutations have been identified in aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) in genes that include KCNJ5, ATP1A1, ATP2B3, and CACNA1D. Based on independent studies, there appears to be racial differences in the prevalence of somatic KCNJ5 mutations, particularly between East Asians and Europeans. Despite the high cardiovascular disease mortality of blacks, there have been no studies focusing on somatic mutations in APAs in this population. In the present study, we investigated genetic characteristics of APAs in blacks using a CYP11B2 (aldosterone synthase) immunohistochemistry-guided next-generation sequencing approach. The adrenal glands with adrenocortical adenomas from 79 black patients with primary aldosteronism were studied. Seventy-three tumors from 69 adrenal glands were confirmed to be APAs by CYP11B2 immunohistochemistry. Sixty-five of 73 APAs (89%) had somatic mutations in aldosterone-driver genes. Somatic CACNA1D mutations were the most prevalent genetic alteration (42%), followed by KCNJ5 (34%), ATP1A1 (8%), and ATP2B3 mutations (4%). CACNA1D mutations were more often observed in APAs from males than those from females (55% versus 29%, P=0.033), whereas KCNJ5 mutations were more prevalent in APAs from females compared with those from males (57% versus 13%, P<0.001). No somatic mutations in aldosterone-driver genes were identified in tumors without CYP11B2 expression. In conclusion, 89% of APAs in blacks harbor aldosterone-driving mutations, and unlike Europeans and East Asians, the most frequently mutated aldosterone-driver gene was CACNA1D. Determination of racial differences in the prevalence of aldosterone-driver gene mutations may facilitate the development of personalized medicines for patients with primary aldosteronism.