Extramedullary hematopoiesis in the adrenal gland

Extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH) is a physiologic compensatory event in many hematologic diseases. It occurs most commonly in the spleen, liver, and lymph nodes and less frequently in the lung, pleura, breast, thymus, small bowel, and central nervous system.1

 EMH in the adrenal is uncommon,2  There are few reports on EMH in the adrenal gland in patients with thalassemia 3 

Adrenal gland might be involved unilaterally or bilaterally 4 

The exact mechanism of EMH in the adrenal gland is unknown. Several hypotheses include:5

  • adrenal gland has hematopoietic capacity during the fetal period and EMH may develop from primitive rests in diseased condition
  • other theories suggest embolization of hematopoietic stem cells in adrenal gland may occur. Chronic hypoxia is another presumptive cause 4,6
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Article Information

rID: 51718
System: Urogenital
Section: Pathology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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