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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 14 - Male Reproductive System

Plate 14.278 Penis

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

Corpus cavernosum

Plate 14.278 Penis

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


The erectile tissue of the corpus cavernosum of the penis is composed of cavernous spaces separated by fibromuscular septa or trabeculae. The latter are extensions of the tunica albuginea, the fibrous coat that surrounds the corpus. The cavernous spaces are filled with blood, and the engorgement of these spaces results in the erection of the penis. Note the central (deep) artery, which traverses the corpus cavernosum. This artery gives rise to the spiraling helicine arterioles that open into the sinuses. The central artery is the principal vessel for filling the sinuses during erection.

Adjacent to the central artery, note the nerve cut in cross section. The penis is richly supplied with spinal, sympathetic, and parasympathetic fibers. The autonomic fibers innervate the smooth muscle in the arterial wall and trabeculae.  

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Anatomy Atlases is curated by Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D. and Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D.

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