Structure of sweat glands And Types

Structure of sweat glands
Sweat glands are coiled tubular glands that secrete a clear solution called, sweat. These glands are widely distributed throughout the body and consist of a secretory unit and a duct that carries sweat out from the body. Each of the glands weighs about 30-40 μg and forms the largest exocrine gland in humans. Sweat glands are also termed as sudoriferous or sudoriparous glands, derived from the Latin word meaning “sweat”. At the base of the sweat gland is present a secretory coil located in the dermis region and surrounded by contractile myoepithelial cells that promote the release of the secretory agent. The contraction and secretory action of myoepithelial cells are controlled by hormones and ANS (Autonomic Nervous System). The apical section of the duct, exposed to the outer skin is called acrosyringium, and the complete gland is surrounded by the adipose tissues. Sweats glands collect various nerve fibers that extend into the axons and surrounds each and every tubule of the secretory coil. Sweat glands extend into the skin’s surface and discharge their secretion.

Types of sweat glands
Eccrine sweat glands: Eccrine glands are small coiled tubular glands that do not penetrate deep within the dermis and excrete directly on the skin surface. These are microscopic sweat glands of about 0.05mm and 0.1mm size. They consist of two portions – a secretory portion and an excretory duct portion. Eccrine sweat glands secrete sweat and also participates in ion excretion. These glands can produce up to 500-750 ml of sweat a day in response to stimuli like temperature and emotion, and about 10 liters per day during unfavorable conditions. Eccrine glands are present all over the body except in the margins of lips, auditory canal, glans penis, clitoris, and labia minora. The secretory section of the eccrine gland is composed of clear cells and the dark cells. The clear cells are primarily responsible for water and electrolyte formation and the dark cells release the macromolecular substance of sweat. The eccrine gland’s principal functions include thermoregulation, excretion of water, electrolytes, and ions, and provide some sort of moisture to the skin surface.

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Apocrine: Apocrine sweat glands are another type of sweat glands located in the armpit, areola, perineum, ear, and eyelids. Apocrine glands activate and increase in size at the time of puberty under the provocation of sex hormones. These glands also consist of a secretory portion and a duct portion. The secretory portion of apocrine sweat glands is larger than that of eccrine glands. The ductal section releases sweat in the hair follicles rather than the skin surface. These glands continuously secrete an odorless fatty sweat which oncoming contact with the local bacterial colonies may develop into the odorous one. In mammals, they contain a chemical messenger called a pheromone to attract other organisms.

There also presents a third type of sweat gland, namely the apocrine gland that possesses the characteristics of both eccrine and apocrine sweat glands.


Causes of sweat
Heat: It is the principal cause of sweating. When the temperature exceeds the normal body temperature, sweat glands get activated and prevents overheating of the body by evaporation and therefore helps in thermoregulation.

Emotional imbalances like stress, anxiety, and anger: anger triggers fight and flight response due to which certain hormones are released that increase heart rate resulting in elevated amounts of perspiration.

Exercise: during exercise, the body heats up fast resulting in increased sweating.


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