Eccrine sweat gland

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Eccrine sweat gland
Gray940 - sweat gland.png
A sectional view of the skin (magnified), with eccrine glands highlighted.
Latin Glandula sudorifera merocrina;
Glandula sudorifera eccrina
Precursor Ectoderm[1]
System Integumentary[1]
Cholinergic sympathetic nerves[2]
MeSH A10.336.899.480
Code TH H3.
Anatomical terminology

Eccrine glands (/ˈɛkrən/, /ˈɛˌkrn/, or /ˈɛˌkrin/; from ekkrinein "secrete";[3] sometimes called merocrine glands) are the major sweat glands of the human body, found in virtually all skin, with the highest density in palms and soles.[4][5] They produce a clear, odorless substance, consisting primarily of water and NaCl. NaCl is reabsorbed in the duct to reduce salt loss.[6] They are active in thermoregulation by providing cooling from water evaporation of sweat secreted by the glands on the body surface and emotional induced sweating (anxiety, fear, stress, and pain).[7][8] The white sediment in otherwise colorless eccrine secretions is caused by evaporation that increases the concentration of salts.

The odor from sweat is due to bacterial activity on the secretions of the apocrine sweat glands, a distinctly different type of sweat gland found in human skin.

Eccrine glands are composed of an intraepidermal spiral duct, the "acrosyringium"; a dermal duct, comprising a straight and coiled portion; and a secretory tubule, coiled deep in the dermis or hypodermis.[7] Eccrine glands are innervated by the sympathetic nervous system, primarily by cholinergic fibers, but by adrenergic fibers as well.[9]


The secretion of eccrine glands is a sterile, dilute electrolyte solution with primary components of bicarbonate, potassium, and sodium chloride (NaCl).[10] There are other components secreted such as glucose, pyruvate, lactate, cytokines, immunoglobulins, antimicrobial peptides (e.g. dermcidin), and many others.[11] Dermcidin is a newly isolated antimicrobial peptide produced by the eccrine sweat glands.[12]


  1. ^ a b Neas, John F. "Development of the Integumentary System". In Martini, Frederic H.; Timmons, Michael J.; Tallitsch, Bob. Embryology Atlas (4th ed.). Benjamin Cumings. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Krstic, Radivoj V. (18 March 2004). Human Microscopic Anatomy: An Atlas for Students of Medicine and Biology. Springer. p. 464. ISBN 9783540536666. 
  3. ^ "eccrine". The New Oxford American Dictionary (2 ed.). 2005. ISBN 9780195170771. 
  4. ^ James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology (10th ed.). Saunders. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0. 
  5. ^ Bolognia, J., Jorizzo, J., & Schaffer, J. (2012). Dermatology (3rd ed., pp. 539-544). [Philadelphia]: Elsevier Saunders.
  6. ^ Mauro, Theodora M; Goldsmith, Lowell A. "Biology of Eccrine, Apocrine, and Apoeccrine Sweat Glands". In Wolff, K; Goldsmith, LA; Katz, SI; Gilchrest, B; Paller, AS; Leffell, DJ. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 
  7. ^ a b Wilke, K.; Martin, A.; Terstegen, L.; Biel, S. S. (June 2007). "A short history of sweat gland biology" (pdf). International journal of cosmetic science 29 (3): 169–179. doi:10.1111/j.1467-2494.2007.00387.x. ISSN 1468-2494. 
  8. ^ Bolognia, J., Jorizzo, J., & Schaffer, J. (2012). Dermatology (3rd ed., pp. 539-544). [Philadelphia]: Elsevier Saunders.
  9. ^ Sokolov, VE; Shabadash, SA; Zelikina, TI (1980). "Innervation of eccrine sweat glands". Biology Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR 7 (5): 331–46. PMID 7317512. 
  10. ^ Bolognia, J., Jorizzo, J., & Schaffer, J. (2012). Dermatology (3rd ed., pp. 539-544). [Philadelphia]: Elsevier Saunders.
  11. ^ Bolognia, J., Jorizzo, J., & Schaffer, J. (2012). Dermatology (3rd ed., pp. 539-544). [Philadelphia]: Elsevier Saunders.
  12. ^ Niyonsaba, F; Suzuki, A; Ushio, H; Nagaoka, I; Ogawa, H; Okumura, K (2009). "The human antimicrobial peptide dermcidin activates normal human keratinocytes". The British journal of dermatology 160 (2): 243–9. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08925.x. PMID 19014393. 

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