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Exocrine glands are glands that secrete their products (excluding hormones and other chemical messengers) into ducts (duct glands) which lead directly into the external environment. They are the counterparts to endocrine glands, which secrete their products (hormones) directly into the bloodstream (ductless glands) or release hormones (paracrines) that affect only target cells nearby the release site.
To the degree to which the activity of these cells is regulated by the nervous system may reflect the role psychological factors could have in the operation of these glands. Effects that might underpin the psychosomatic links with disorders of these systems.
Typical exocrine glands include sweat glands, salivary glands, mammary glands, stomach, liver, pancreas. (Example of an endocrine gland is the adrenal gland, which is found on top of the kidneys and secretes the hormone adrenaline, among others).
There are many ways of classifying exocrine glands:
Exocrine glands contain a glandular portion and a duct portion, the structures of which can be used to classify the gland.
- The duct portion may be branched (called compound) or unbranched (called simple).
- The glandular portion may be tubular, acinar, or may be a mix of the two (called tubuloacinar). If the glandular portion branches, then the gland is called a branched gland.
Method of secretion
- Apocrine glands - a portion of the plasma membrane buds off the cell, containing the secretion.
- Holocrine glands - the entire cell disintegrates to secrete its substance.
- Merocrine glands - cells secrete their substances by exocytosis.
- Serous cells secrete proteins, often enzymes. Examples include chief cells and Paneth cells
- Mucous cells secrete mucus. Examples include Brunner's glands, esophageal glands, and pyloric glands
- Mixed glands secrete both protein and mucus. Examples include the salivary glands, although parotid gland is predominantly serous, the sublingual gland is predominantly mucous and the submandibular gland is both serous and mucous.
List of exocrine glands
Glands typically may be referred to by two or more means, though some terms are rarely seen. The names of the anatomists who first described them are often employed, as:
|Apocrine sweat glands||skin||coiled tubular|
|Bartholin's glands, Tiedmann's glands, vulvovaginal glands||vulva, vagina|
|Bauhin's glands, anterior lingual glands||tongue, near tip||nonserous or mixed|
|Brunner's glands, duodenal glands||duodenum||mucous||compound tubular|
|Bulbourethral glands, Cowper's glands, Mery's glands||penis, base|
|Ciaccio's glands, accessory lacrimal glands||eye|
|Cobelli's glands||esophagus, just above the cardia, in the mucosa||mucous|
|Duverney's gland||vagina, on either side|
|Eccrine sweat glands||skin||coiled tubular|
|Fränkel's glands||vocal cords, below the edge|
|Gastric chief cell, Wasmann's glands||stomach||serous|
|Glomus coccygeum, coccygeal gland, Luschka's gland or ganglion||coccyx, near the tip|
|Goblet cells||digestive tract, respiratory tract||mucous||simple unicellular|
|Henle's glands||eyelids, in the conjuctiva||tubular|
|Krause's glands||conjunctiva, middle portion||mucous|
|Lieberkuhn's glands||intestines, surface of mucous membrane||simple tubular|
|Littré's glands, Morgagni's glands||spongy portion of the urethra||racemose|
|Mammary gland||breast||compound tubulo-acinar|
|Montgomery's glands||mammary areola||sebaceous|
|Naboth's glands||cervix and os uteri||mucous|
|Olfactory glands, Bowman's glands||nose, olfactory region|
|Paneth cells||small intestine||serous|
|Gley's glands, Sandstroem's glands|
|Peyer's patches (or glands)||ileum, lymphatic glands|
|Prostate||surrounds the urethra just below the urinary bladder|
|Pyloric glands||stomach||mucous||simple branched tubular|
|Sebaceous gland||skin||sebum||acinar - branched|
|Skene's glands, Guérin's glands||vagina|
|Sublingual gland, Rivini's gland||mouth||mucus (primarily)||tubulo-alveolar|
|Submandibular gland||mouth||mixed (M+S)||tubulo-alveolar|
|Sudoriparous glands, Boerhaave's glands||skin|
|Sigmund's glands||epitrochlear lymph nodes|
|Suzanne's gland||mouth, beneath the alveolingual groove||mucous|
|Glands of Zeis||eyelids, free edges||sebaceous|
Histology: Epithelial tissue (TH H2.00.02)
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