Press Release

Single-Nucleus Analysis Reveals Tumor Heterogeneity of Aldosterone-Producing Adenoma

January 18, 2024


Recent advances in omics techniques have allowed detailed genetic characterization of aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA). The pathogenesis of APA is characterized by tumorigenesis-associated aldosterone synthesis. The pathophysiological intricacies of APAs have not yet been elucidated at the level of individual cells. Therefore, a single-cell level analysis is speculated to be valuable in studying the differentiation process of APA.

We conducted single-nucleus RNA sequencing of APAs with KCNJ5 mutation and nonfunctional adenomas obtained from 3 and 2 patients, respectively.

The single-nucleus RNA sequencing revealed the intratumoral heterogeneity of APA and identified cell populations consisting of a shared cluster of nonfunctional adenoma and APA. In addition, we extracted 2 cell fates in APA and obtained a cell population specialized in aldosterone synthesis. Genes related to ribosomes and neurodegenerative diseases were upregulated in 1 of these fates, whereas those related to the regulation of glycolysis were upregulated in the other fate. Furthermore, the total RNA reads in the nucleus were higher in hormonally activated clusters, indicating a marked activation of transcription per cell.

The single-nucleus RNA sequencing revealed intratumoral heterogeneity of APA with KCNJ5 mutation. The observation of 2 cell fates in KCNJ5-mutated APAs provides the postulation that a heterogeneous process of cellular differentiation was implicated in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying APA tumors.

Journal Article


TITLE:Single-Nucleus Analysis Reveals Tumor Heterogeneity of Aldosterone-Producing Adenoma


Correspondence to

Tetsuya Yamada, MD, PhD, Professor
Masanori Murakami, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor

Department of Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism, 
Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences,
Tokyo Medical and Dental University(TMDU)

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