Anatomy Physiology

What is a ‘gland’?

Humans, or many other animals for that matter, will rely on certain specialized tissue structures called glands in order to provide them with certain types of secretions which can be a hormone, enzyme or else some sort of chemical. These secretions would engage in performing various functions which can be considered essential for the metabolic processes.

What is the structure of a ‘gland’?

In general, all these secretary glands will consist of well organized collection of secretary cells. These cells will be arranged according to one of three methods and these arrangements are either acinus type, tubular type or else as a cord. Apart from the arrangement of the secretary unit, the secretions that it makes needs to be transported to the blood stream or else to a body cavity or a tissue surface. Thus, the structure that is useful in doing this transportation would be the secretary duct. Based on its tendency to branch or not, the anatomist classifies these glands in to two groups and one of such groups are called ‘simple glands’.

What is a ‘simple gland’?

As the name suggest, the simple glands will contain a simple anatomical structure and would contain a non-dividing or non-branching secretary duct. At the same time, each of these ducts would be linked with a single type of secretary unit. Therefore, a simple gland would only contain acini type of a secretary unit or else either a tubular or a cord like secretary unit.

What are the examples of such glands?

Some of the examples for these glands would be the sweat glands, gastric glands, intestinal crypts and uterine glands. Let us describe the main features of these glands briefly.

Sweat glands are located deep in the dermis of the skin and consist of a coiled duct system which brings the produced sweat to the surface of the skin. The secretary portion of the gland is made up of a tubular arrangement and it performs a vital task in thermoregulation of the mammalian body.

Gastric glands are present in the gastric pits of the stomach and these are also been identified as simple tubular glands which secretes acids, enzymes as well as mucus depending on the site as well as based on the necessity.

Intestinal crypts are short invaginations of the mucosal surface of the intestine and deep beneath these crypts there lies many secretary cells which makes the crypts to function as an intestinal gland.

The uterine endometrium will also contain many tubular glands which will undergo extensive changes during the menstrual cycle.