Primary aldosteronism (PA) is the most common cause of secondary hypertension, and is associated with an increased incidence of cardiovascular events. PA itself is clinically classified into the following two types: unilateral PA, mostly composed of aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA); and bilateral hyperaldosteronism, consisting of multiple aldosterone-producing micronodules (APMs) and aldosterone-producing diffuse hyperplasia. Histopathologically, those disorders above are all composed of compact and clear cells. The cellular morphology in the above-mentioned aldosterone-producing disorders has been recently reported to be closely correlated with patterns of somatic mutations of ion channels including KCNJ5, CACNA1D, ATP1A1, ATP2B3, and others. In addition, in non-pathological adrenal glands, APMs are frequently detected regardless of the status of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). Aldosterone-producing nodules have been also proposed as non-neoplastic nodules that can be identified by hematoxylin and eosin staining. These non-neoplastic CYP11B2-positive nodules could represent possible precursors of APAs possibly due to the presence of somatic mutations. On the other hand, aging itself also plays a pivotal role in the development of aldosterone-producing lesions. For instance, the number of APMs was also reported to increase with aging. Therefore, recent studies indicated the novel classification of PA into normotensive PA (RAAS-independent APM) and clinically overt PA.
- Adrenal glands