Suprarenal glands | Acland's Video Atlas of Human Anatomy Skip to main content


Now that we've seen the kidneys, we'll look briefly at the suprarenal glands. These important endocrine glands, which are also known as the adrenal glands, lie just above the kidneys, but are not related to them functionally.

Here's the right suprarenal gland. It's embedded in the same layer of fat as the kidney. The inferior vena cava lies just in front of it. Here's the left suprarenal gland. It lies in front of the upper part of the left kidney, close to the left crus of the diaphragm.

Here's a suprarenal gland by itself. It is this color in the living body. We'll divide it along this line to see to see a little of its internal structure. This pale outer layer is the cortex, which secretes corticosteroids. This darker inner layer is the medulla, which secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine.

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