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Endocrine Medicine

Background

The main focus of the research Group Endocrine Medicine is autoimmune organ specific diseases, especially of the adrenals.

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Adrenals

The adrenal glands are small hormon producing glands that are situated right above the kidneys. They consist of two seperat parts, the inner medulla and the outer cortex. The medulla produces adrenalin and noradrenaline which prepares the body for stressful situations by mobilizing the body for effort through increasing blood flow to the muscles, freein energy reserves and increasing the stroke volume of the heart. The cortex produces hormones, which unlike for the medulla, are life vital. These include sex hormones (andorgens), cortisol and aldosterone in three different layers. Alodsterone regulates blood pressure by influencing the salt balanc, while cortisol is released during stress and hunger, and is vital for the metabolism, kidney function and immune regulation.

Binyrene

Binyrene er små kjertler som ligger rett over nyrene. Binyrebarken (det ytterste delen) er delt i tre lag som produserer forskjellige hormoner og det er denne som blir ødelagt ved autoimmun binyrebarksvikt (Addison )

Photo:
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Adrenal insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency or Addisons disease, is a disorder where the adrenal glands fail to produce sufficient levels of hormones. In the western world the most common cause of Addison is an autoimmune attack of the cortex causing the hormon production to cease, but tubercolosis, adrenal bleeding or overmedication can also trigger Addisons. Common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are skin pigmentation, wheight loss, GI problems, dizzyness caused by low bloodpressure, fatigue. Addison is treated by a life long substitution therapy taking tablets with artificially produced cortisol and aldosterone.

In acute infections or high stress situations the conidition can worsen causing an adrenal crisis which is a life threatening condition that requires immdiate treatment with hydrocortisone injection.

 

Addison symptomer

De vanligste symptomene for binyresvikt er pigmentflekker på huden, vekttap, økt salthunger, utmattelse, mageproblemer og svimmelhet pga lavt blodtrykk

Photo:
Nursing Educations Consultants Inc

Autoimmunity

Our immune systems keeps us healthy by protecting us from the constant threat from bacteria, virus and other microorganisms. Through a series of different actions constituting an immune respons, the immune system attacks any organism or substance that is capable of invading our body and causing illness.

The immune defence consists of a network of cells, tissues and organs workin together in a complex system to protect our body. One type of cells is lymphocytes or white blood cells. These are produces and stored in several parts of the body, including the thymus, spleen and bone marrow, collectively known as lymphoid organs. There are altso clumps of lymphois tissue in different parts of the body, the lymph nodes, which is the home of the white blood cells. When they face an intruder it starts a complex and closely regulated immune response requiring collaboration between several cell types and organs.

The lymphoctes carry surface markers (receptors) that can recognize a different bacteria and virii. Early in the development of one subgroup of lymphocytes known as T-cells, these cells learns the difference between own and foreign. The immune cells are only meant to start an immunological respons against foreign invaders and not the cells and organs of its own body. Autoimmune diseases are often caused by T-cells going after the wrong targets, attacking itself instead. We don't hava a complete understanding of why some are prone to develop autoimmune diseases, but we think it's a combination of genetic predispositions which prevents the immun system from responding correctly to enviornmental "triggers" such as stress or infections. Autoimmune Addison is a disease caused by T-cells destroying the adrenal cortex.