Pheochromocytomas are rare tumors that grow in the adrenal glands, which are small glands located above the kidneys. These tumors cause the glands to produce excessive amounts of hormones called catecholamines, which are responsible for regulating blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism. The symptoms of pheochromocytomas can vary greatly, but they often include high blood pressure, severe headaches, sweating, rapid heart rate, and anxiety. These symptoms can be difficult to diagnose, as they mimic other health conditions, such as anxiety disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Pheochromocytomas are typically treated with surgical removal of the tumor, and sometimes the entire adrenal gland. This treatment is often successful, but it can be complicated by the excess of catecholamines causing hypertension and related cardiovascular complications. Research on pheochromocytomas continues to advance, with focus on understanding the underlying genetic mutations associated with these tumors. Current research has also focused on developing targeted therapies for patients with advanced or recurrent diseases, utilizing novel drug combinations and radiation therapy. Overall, the study of pheochromocytomas has illuminated much understanding regarding the regulation of catecholamine synthesis, release and action. Future studies in this area will not only further our understanding of this rare tumor, but also potentially unlock new treatments for patients with other adrenal gland diseases.

From: Neurobiology

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Editor-in-chief: Zheng Jiang, Department of Neuroscience, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Publication Type: Open Access Journal
Description: The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system. Together they control all the workings of the body. When something goes wrong with a part of your nervous system, you can have trouble moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing, or learning. You can also have problems with your memory, senses, or mood.