This chapter focuses on the anatomy and function of the sweat gland. There are two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. The eccrine sweat glands are simple tubular glands that extend down from the epidermis to the lower dermis. The lower portion is a tightly coiled secretory apparatus consisting of two types of cells. The apocrine gland is a dark basophilic cell that secretes mucous material, while the eccrine sweat gland is a light acidophilic cell that is responsible for the passage of water and electrolytes. The major function of the sweat gland in humans is thermoregulatory. There are a number of factors that affect the sweat response. With repeated episodes of profuse sweating, the salt content in the sweat progressively declines. In an individual acclimatized to a hot climate, the salt content is reduced, probably reflecting an increase of mineralocorticoids in response to thermal stress. The sweat gland is prone to atrophy and hypertrophy. Repeated stimulation results in a several-fold increase in the size and function of the gland.
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