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

Plate 7.142 Ceruminous Gland

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


Plate 7.142 Ceruminous Gland

Human, 10% formalin, H. & E., 55 x.


The skin lining the external auditory meatus (canal) is generally thin but contains hair follicles and large ceruminous glands that extend through the dermis to reach the perichondrium of the cartilagenous part of the tube.

The hairs may aid in preventing intrusion of insects into the ear canal, and the waxy secretion of the ceruminous glands may protect the skin from desiccation and irritation.

The coiled ceruminous gland has a large lumen, and the cells are either cuboidal (inactive) or columnar (active). The gland closely resembles axillary apocrine sweat glands. The secretory product, cerumen (ear wax), is a yellowish, semisolid mixture of wax and fats. These glands are considered a special variety of coiled tubular apocrine sweat gland.

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