Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger,
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed
Human, Zenker's fluid, Mallory-azan stain, 612 x.
Secretory epithelium: Simple columnar or high cuboidal in type. The nuclei of these gland cells are round. In mucous glands, the nuclei are flattened against the basal cell membrane, and, in sebaceous glands, the nuclei degenerate and form part of the secretory product. In glands that produce a watery secretion (e.g., parotid and sweat glands), spherical nuclei are characteristically found.
Myoepithelial cells: Spindle-shaped contractile cells found between the secretory epithelium and the underlying basement membrane. They lie with their long axes tangential to the secretory epithelium. Nuclei are elongated. Their contractile activity forces secretions into the excretory duct of the gland. Electron micrographs reveal myoepithelial cells to be similar to smooth muscle fibers and to contain myofilaments. These contractile cells are particularly well developed in the large apocrine glands found in the axilla and perianal region.
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