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in humans and other mammals, a simple acinous gland with a short excretory duct and a branched end section that is located in the skin between the papillary and reticular layers of the dermis and that secretes cutaneus sebum. Sebaceous glands are distributed over the entire skin, except over the palmar and plantar surfaces.
Generally, sebaceous glands are connected to hairs: the excretory duct opens into the narrow fissure between the root and epithelial sheath of a hair. However, some glands, for example those on the lips, labia minora pudendi, nipples and nipple areas, and head and foreskin of the penis, open directly onto the body surface. The excretory duct is lined with stratified squamous epithelium, which on one side directly becomes the malpighian layer of the hair’s external root sheath and on the other becomes the wall of the alveolus. The latter consists of cells that are only slightly differentiated and capable of mitosis. These cells are rich in RNA and various enzymes and are especially concentrated near the excretory duct. The alveolus is filled with cells that contain fat droplets. Deep in the alveolus, cells undergo fatty degeneration, and as a result, their fat content increases and their nucleus wrinkles and decomposes.
Cutaneus sebum is formed from the remains of destroyed cells and fat. It serves as a fatty lubricant for the hair and skin surface and makes the skin elastic and impermeable to water, chemical substances, and certain microorganisms. The secretion of cutaneous sebum is promoted by the contraction of the skin musculature. The musk glands of certain reptiles and mammals and the uropygial glands of birds are sebaceous glands. In humans, the most common diseases of the sebaceous glands are atheroma, acne, and seborrhea.
E. S. KIRPICHNIKOVA