Preputial gland

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Preputial glands are exocrine glands that are located in front of the genitals of some mammals and produce pheromones. The preputial glands of female animals are sometimes called clitoral glands.

The best studied preputial glands are those of the House Mouse and the Brown Rat, because these two species are important model organisms and because their preputial glands are very similar in structure to the (much smaller) sebaceous glands of humans. The preputial glands of male musk deer produce strong-smelling musk which is of economic importance as it is used in perfumes.

Humans do not have anatomical equivalents of the preputial glands described above. However, the term preputial glands or Tyson's glands is sometimes used for tiny whitish yellow pimples occasionally found on the corona of the glans penis and mistakenly believed to be glands involved in the production of smegma. The proper name for these structures is pearly penile papules (or hirsutoid papillomas); they are not glands but mere thickenings of the skin and are not involved in the formation of smegma. (Hyman 1969, Parkash 1982)


  • Hyman AB, Brownstein MH. Tyson's `glands': ectopic sebaceous glands and papillomatosis penis. Arch Derm 1969; 99: 31-6
  • Parkash S, Rao R, Venkatesan K, Ramakrishnan S. Sub-preputial wetness: its nature. Ann Natl Med Sci India 1982; 18: 109-12 Fulltext

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