The apocrine secretion corresponds to a secretion in vesicles. This secretion mode is relatively rare and occurs mainly in the apical sweat glands. In sweat gland abscess, the affected skin regions are inflamed and trigger fistula formation.

What is the apocrine secretion?

The minor glands of the eyelid follow this secretion mode, with inflammation it can come to the Gerstenkornbildung.

The expression of secretion in medicine means the secretion of a secretion. Glands and glandular cells are either exocrine or endocrine. In endocrine glands, secretion proceeds via exit channels. In exocrine glands, the secretion does not take place via channels, but the secretion is delivered to the body surface or into a body cavity.

The exocrine secretion can be done in different ways. In this context, the secretion modes of exocrine glands are mentioned. Apocrine secretion is one of a total of three secretory modes that exocrine glands and glandular cells track in the human organism. The glandular cell constricts the secretion from a part of its cell membrane, which, together with the apical cytoplasm of the immediate environment, forms individual vesicles and is consumed during this process.

From this rather rare mode, the eccrine and the holocrine mode can be distinguished. In turn, apical modes are predominantly found in the mammary glands and in the prostate or seminal vesicles. The scent glands of human skin also follow the apocrine mode.

Function & Task

Secretions perform many different tasks in the human body. For example, endocrine secretions are hormonally active and influence the regulation of different body processes. Exocrine secretions in the apocrine mode fulfill a function especially as sex secrets.

For example, the man's seminal vesicle produces a protein. This protein is known as Semenogelin and includes the sperm in a matrix of gel. This protects the seeds and prevents premature decay. Thus, the secretion of the seminal vesicle ultimately ensures the survival of man by supporting the reproduction. Delivery is partly through eccrine exocytosis and to some extent through apocrine processes.

Apocrine secretion is a secretion vesicle secretion. These vesicles correspond to drops of fat that accumulate towards the lumen in the cell membrane of the glandular cells. Apocrine glands have an extra lumen compared to eccrines and carry tiny protuberances of the apical cell membrane at the cell pole. The accumulated fat drops do not fuse with the gland cells, but remain isolated. Finally, the ready-to-release drops bind to the midskin of integral membrane proteins, such as butyrophilin in the cell membrane. Through this binding, the fat drops bulge continuously into the lumen of the gland. Underneath this curvature, the membrane of the gland cell gradually contracts. So not only the fat plug is pinched off, but also the surrounding cytoplasm and the attached cell membrane in the outer area of ​​the cell. The secretion is thus packed in membrane containers.

This process is also known as apocytosis and causes the gland cells to lose their cytoplasm and cell membrane. The volume of the cells decreases by this process, which distinguishes the secretory mode from the eccrine secretion. The secretion is released from the cell only when the former cell membrane ruptures.

In addition to the seminal vesicle, the mammary gland operates apocrine secretion. This secretion corresponds primarily to the fat delivery from the mammary epithelial cells. In addition, the minor glands of the eyelid follow this secretion mode, which are to be understood as sweat gland-like apocrine glands of the eyelid margin.

Apocrine sweat glands also occur under the armpits, in the genital area and on the anus as well as on the nipples. These glands are actually scent glands that release pheromones, affecting sexual behavior to some degree.

Diseases & complaints

Exactly with the secretion by the apokrinen fragrance glands of the woman large fluctuations can adjust, which usually have no illness value, but are more or less dependent on the cycle. However, because the scent glands produce a greasy secretion, they are especially prone to infection. Such infections can disturb the local protective coat of the acid. In turn, if the alkaline protective mantle is disturbed, the affected area becomes more susceptible to bacterial infection. Therefore, infections often occur in the scent glands, which usually manifest themselves as abscesses. In this context, there is also talk of a sweat gland abscess. Such abscesses are associated with inflammation and fistula formation.

In some cases, this disease is also referred to as acne inversa, which primarily affects people in puberty. The apocrine sweat glands ignite only secondarily. Originally, the inflammation originates from the holocrine sebaceous glands of these skin areas. The acne inversa is extremely painful. In the connective tissue under the skin extensive phlegmon can develop, which cause a bluish discoloration and can even lead to sepsis on larger areas.

Since the apocrine sweat glands are mainly responsible for the personal body odor, they may also be affected by the bromhidrosis. In this phenomenon, an increase in the local germ flora causes an excessively strong body odor. The body odor is caused by a metabolism of the sebum secretion by the body's own bacteria and thus increases, especially when sweat given off moisturizes the horny layer of the skin and thus promotes bacterial proliferation.

As a cause for the increased sweat production in turn come various illnesses, but also psychological stress in question. By contrast, the apical glands of the breast and the prostate are frequently involved in benign and malignant tumors.

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