Apocrine sweat glands

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Apocrine sweat glands

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A diagrammatic sectional view of the skin (magnified). Sweat gland labeled as "sudoriferous gland" at center right.

Apocrine sweat glands develop during the early- to mid-puberty ages within the age range of 13 to 15, and release more than normal amounts of sweat for approximately a month, regulating and releasing normal amounts of sweat after a certain period of time. They are located wherever there is body hair. [1]

These glands produce sweat that contains fatty materials. Mainly present on the face, in the armpits, and around the genital area, their activity is the main cause of sweat odor, due to the bacteria that break down the organic compounds in the sweat.

Emotional stress causes sweat present in the tubule to be squeezed out. Thus, apocrine sweat glands serve as scent glands.

The name apocrine sweat gland is archaic; these glands are no longer believed to secrete their products by an apocrine mechanism in which the apical portion of the cell is sloughed off with secretory products inside. Rather, the apocrine sweat glands secrete in an merocrine fashion: membrane-bound vesicles bind to the plasma membrane of secretory cells and release products by exocytosis with no net loss of the plasma membrane. These glands are still called apocrine sweat glands to distinguish them from the eccrine sweat glands.

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