Adrenal Gland Inclusions in Patients Treated With Aldosterone Antagonists (Spironolactone/Eplerenone): Incidence, Morphology, and Ultrastructural Findings


Spironolactone is often used to treat hypertension caused by hyperaldosteronism, and as a result, can form concentrically laminated electron dense spironolactone body inclusions within the adrenal gland. Spironolactone bodies have not been investigated in a contemporary cohort or in patients treated with the more recently approved aldosterone antagonist, eplerenone. Spironolactone bodies were retrospectively investigated in patients treated for hyperaldosteronism (n = 15) from 2012-2013 that underwent a subsequent adrenalectomy. Inclusions were identified in 33% of patients treated with aldosterone antagonists, far less than previously reported. Remarkably, 50% of patients treated with spironolactone had inclusions while no patients using eplerenone alone had inclusions. Two patients treated with spironolactone had bodies present longer than the duration described in prior studies. Inclusions unexpectedly persisted in 1 patient despite increased duration of discontinued pharmacological treatment. A spectrum of histologic and ultrastructural findings were encountered within an adrenal cortical adenoma from a patient treated with both spironolactone and eplerenone. Ultrastructural examination revealed laminated electron dense bodies with the appearance of classic spironolactone inclusions as well as electron dense bodies without laminations and laminated bodies without electron dense cores.

Authors: Kishan A Patel, Edward P Calomeni, Tibor Nadasdy, Debra L Zynger
Keywords: adrenal glands, hyperaldosteronism, inclusion bodies, spironolactone, eplerenone
DOI Number: 10.1186/1746-1596-9-147      Publication Year: 2014

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