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Human fetus, 8th week of gestation: Neural crest cells (arrows) are migrating into the mass of cortical cells of fetal adrenal tissue in the para-aortic area (low power view). After migration, those neural crest cells usually acquire neuro-endocrine characteristics and develop into pheochromocytes. AD: adrenal, AO: aorta, Li: liver.

Developmental stage of sympathetic ganglion consisting of small round immature cells (neuroblasts) intermingled with maturing ganglion cells. Sympathetic ganglia are distributed those places in the posterior mediastinum, retroperitoneal space, and pelvis where pNTs are commonly diagnosed.

High power view of Fig. 4 shows neural crest cells (small darker cells in the circle) invading into the mass of adrenal cortical cells. Instead of becoming pheochromocytes, those neural crest cells retain neuroblastic characteristics during the process of tumorigenesis towards pNT. The adrenal gland is the most common primary site for this group of tumors.

Embryology


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