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The supraneal, or adrenal, glands are a pair of glands that secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Each gland can be divided into two distinct organs. The outer region, the adrenal cortex, secretes hormones which have important effects on the way in which energy is stored and food is used, on chemicals in the blood, and on characteristics such as hairiness and body shape. The smaller, inner Continue Scrolling To Read More Below... Click To View Large Image Continued From Above... region — the adrenal medulla — is part of the sympathetic nervous system and is the body’s first line of defense and response to physical and emotional stresses.
Catecholamines are produced in chromaffin cells in the medulla of the adrenal gland, from tyrosine , a non-essential amino acid derived from food or produced from phenylalanine in the liver. The enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase converts tyrosine to L-DOPA in the first step of catecholamine synthesis. L-DOPA is then converted to dopamine before it can be turned into noradrenaline. In the cytosol , noradrenaline is converted to epinephrine by the enzyme phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) and stored in granules. Glucocorticoids produced in the adrenal cortex stimulate the synthesis of catecholamines by increasing the levels of tyrosine hydroxylase and PNMT.