Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger,
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed
Human, 10% formalin, H. & E., 187 x.
Cavernous tissues (the spongiosum and paired cavernous bodies of clitoris and penis) increase in size by filling with blood and change a flaccid organ to a rigid one. Cavernous organs are filled with a complex network of venous sinuses separated by trabeculae composed of smooth muscle and connective tissue.
The spaces and trabeculae are lined with endothleium. Note that the walls of cavernous tissues possess subendothelial thickenings composed of longitudinal muscle fibers called polsters, which partially occlude the lumen of the sinus. it is believed that the polsters facilitate the closure of sinuses during erection. Note also the pseudostratified columnar epithelium of the urethral diverticula with their unique intraepithelial mucous gland cells (glands of Littré*), which can be seen in this illustration.
*Littré was an eighteenth-century French (Paris) anatomist.
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