Jing-Hang Jiang, Yi-Fu Wang, Jie Zheng, Yi-Ming Lei, Zhong-Yuan Chen, Yi Guo, Ya-Jie Guo, Bing-Qian Guo, Yu-Fang Lv, Hong-Hong Wang, Juan-Juan Xie, Yi-Xuan Liu, Ting-Wei Jin, Bi-Qi Li, Xiao-Shu Zhu, Yong-Hua Jiang, Zeng-Nan Mo. 2024. Human‐like adrenal features in Chinese tree shrews revealed by multi-omics analysis of adrenal cell populations and steroid synthesis. Zoological Research, 45(3): 617-632. DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.280
Citation: Jing-Hang Jiang, Yi-Fu Wang, Jie Zheng, Yi-Ming Lei, Zhong-Yuan Chen, Yi Guo, Ya-Jie Guo, Bing-Qian Guo, Yu-Fang Lv, Hong-Hong Wang, Juan-Juan Xie, Yi-Xuan Liu, Ting-Wei Jin, Bi-Qi Li, Xiao-Shu Zhu, Yong-Hua Jiang, Zeng-Nan Mo. 2024. Human‐like adrenal features in Chinese tree shrews revealed by multi-omics analysis of adrenal cell populations and steroid synthesis. Zoological Research, 45(3): 617-632. DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.280

Human‐like adrenal features in Chinese tree shrews revealed by multi-omics analysis of adrenal cell populations and steroid synthesis

  • The Chinese tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) has emerged as a promising model for investigating adrenal steroid synthesis, but it is unclear whether the same cells produce steroid hormones and whether their production is regulated in the same way as in humans. Here, we comprehensively mapped the cell types and pathways of steroid metabolism in the adrenal gland of Chinese tree shrews using single-cell RNA sequencing, spatial transcriptome analysis, mass spectrometry, and immunohistochemistry. We compared the transcriptomes of various adrenal cell types across tree shrews, humans, macaques, and mice. Results showed that tree shrew adrenal glands expressed many of the same key enzymes for steroid synthesis as humans, including CYP11B2, CYP11B1, CYB5A, and CHGA. Biochemical analysis confirmed the production of aldosterone, cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone but not dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in the tree shrew adrenal glands. Furthermore, genes in adrenal cell types in tree shrews were correlated with genetic risk factors for polycystic ovary syndrome, primary aldosteronism, hypertension, and related disorders in humans based on genome-wide association studies. Overall, this study suggests that the adrenal glands of Chinese tree shrews may consist of closely related cell populations with functional similarity to those of the human adrenal gland. Our comprehensive results (publicly available at http://gxmujyzmolab.cn:16245/scAGMap/) should facilitate the advancement of this animal model for the investigation of adrenal gland disorders.
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