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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 7 - Integument

Plate 7.139 Sweat Gland

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


Plate 7.139 Sweat Gland

Human, 10% formalin, H. & E., 162 x.


Most sweat glands are of the eccrine variety, in which the secretory cells remain intact. They play an important role in temperature regulation in man and are widely distributed. Sweat glands are innervated by cholinergic nerves of the sympathetic nervous system. They secrete only when stimulated, and, in a hot environment or during strenuous exercise, more than 1 liter per hour can be secreted by an average individual. However, the sweat glands of the palms of the hands and soles of the feet appear to respond to emotional states (anxiety and mental stress) rather than to increase in external temperature.

Sweat glands are located deep in the dermis of the skin and are surrounded by fat cells and the collagenous connective tissue septa of the dermis.

Secretory cells: The secretory portion of sweat glands is made up of tubules lined by a single layer of simple cuboidal or columnar cells, with faintly staining cytoplasm and a prominent round nucleus located in the middle of the cell. A distinct basement membrane and myoepithelial cells surround the secretory cells.

Secretory ducts: Spiral course to the free surface of the skin. Lined by two layers of darkly staining cuboidal cells surrounded by a distinct basement membrane.

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