Exocrine gland

Exocrine gland

Exocrine glands are glands that secrete their products (enzymes) into ducts (duct glands). They are the counterparts to endocrine glands, which secrete their products (hormones) directly into the bloodstream (ductless glands) or release hormones (paracrines) that affect only target cells nearby the release site.


Typical exocrine glands include sweat glands, salivary glands, mammary glands, stomach, liver. (Example of an endocrine gland is the adrenal gland, which is found on top of the kidneys and secretes the hormone adrenaline, among others).


There are many ways of classifying exocrine glands:


Exocrine glands contain a glandular portion and a duct portion, the structures of which can be used to classify the gland.
* The duct portion may be branched (called "compound") or unbranched (called "simple").
* The glandular portion may be tubular, acinar, or may be a mix of the two (called tubuloacinar). If the glandular portion branches, then the gland is called a branched gland.

Method of secretion

Exocrine glands are named apocrine gland, holocrine gland, or merocrine gland based on how their product is secreted.

* Serous cells secrete proteins, often enzymes. Examples include chief cells and Paneth cells
* Mucous cells secrete mucus. Examples include Brunner's glands, esophageal glands, and pyloric glands
* Mixed glands secrete both protein and mucus. Examples include the salivary glands, although parotid gland is predominantly serous, the sublingual gland is predominantly mucous and the submandibular gland is both serous and mucous.

List of exocrine glands

Glands typically may be referred to by two or more means, though some terms are rarely seen. The names of the anatomists who first described them are often employed, as:

Prostate gland is an exocrine gland of the male mammalian reproductive system. It secretes a clear and basic fluid that constitutes 1/3 of the volume of semen.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • exocrine gland — n a gland (as a sweat gland, a salivary gland, or a kidney) that releases a secretion external to or at the surface of an organ by means of a canal or duct called also gland of external secretion * * * a gland that discharges its secretion by… …   Medical dictionary

  • exocrine gland — noun a gland that secretes externally through a duct • Syn: ↑exocrine, ↑duct gland • Hypernyms: ↑gland, ↑secretory organ, ↑secretor, ↑secreter • Hyponyms …   Useful english dictionary

  • exocrine gland — a gland that discharges its secretion by means of a duct, which opens onto an epithelial surface. An exocrine gland may be simple, with a single unbranched duct, or compound, with branched ducts and multiple secretory sacs. The illustration shows …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • exocrine gland — ex′ocrine gland n. anat. any gland, as a sweat gland or salivary gland, that secretes externally through a duct • Etymology: 1925–30 …   From formal English to slang

  • exocrine gland — noun Date: circa 1927 a gland (as a salivary gland or part of the pancreas) that releases a secretion external to or at the surface of an organ by means of a canal or duct …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • exocrine gland — noun Any of various glands which secrete via a duct, typically into the digestive tract or onto the skin. Syn: duct gland Ant: endocrine gland …   Wiktionary

  • exocrine gland — An animal gland that secretes through a duct …   Glossary of Biotechnology

  • exocrine gland — any of several glands, as the salivary glands, that secrete externally through a duct. [1925 30] * * * …   Universalium

  • gland of external secretion — exocrine gland …   Useful english dictionary

  • gland of external secretion — n EXOCRINE GLAND …   Medical dictionary

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