Sebaceous Glands



Sebaceous glands are unique in many respects when the general structure and physiology of the skin of various mammalian genera and species are considered. The second of the epidermal appendages to differentiate, following only the hair anlagen during ontogeny (Serri and Huber 1963; Bell 1971 b; Breathnach 1971), they soon connect directly by means of ducts with their associated hair follicles, thus forming pilosebaceous units. In some species, e.g., lemurs (Montagna 1962 b), the sebaceous glands of the general body surface lose their associations with hair follicles after fetal life and open directly onto the epidermal surface, but in most mammals, only specialized sebaceous glands, such as the Meibomian glands of the eyelids, routinely open onto surfaces. Among mammals, only whales and porpoises, which lack hair, are also devoid of sebaceous glands (Montagna 1962a). Classified as simple, branched glands, i.e., glands with ducts that do not branch, complete pilosebaceous units are difficult to depict in two dimensions, especially in large glands such as those of man, because several alveoli can discharge secretory products into one pilosebaceous canal at many sites located circumferentially at the same depth from the skin surface.


Sebaceous Gland Preputial Gland Pilosebaceous Unit Golgi Zone Subhuman Primate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen JR, Abrahamson LJ, Norback DH (1973) Biological effects of polychlorinated biphenyls and triphenyls on subhuman primates. Environ Res 6: 344–354PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baillie AH, Thomson J, Milne JA (1966) The distribution of hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in human sebaceous glands. Br J Dermatol 78: 451–457PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beaver DL (1960) Electron microscopy of the acinar cell of the rat preputial gland. Anat Rec 146: 47–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell M (1970) A comparative study of sebaceous gland ultrastructure in subhuman primates. I. Galago crassicaudatus, Galago senegalensis, and Galago demidorii. Anat Ree 166: 213–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell M (1971 a) A comparative study of sebaceous gland ultrastructure in subhuman primates. 111. Macaques: Crystalline inclusions in the sebaceous cells of Macaca mulatta, Macaca nemestrina, Macaca speciosa, and Macaca fascicularis. J Cell Biol 49: 932–936Google Scholar
  6. Bell M (1971 b) A comparative study of sebaceous gland ultrastructure in subhuman primates. II. Macaques: Ultrastructure of sebaceous glands during fetal development of rhesus monkeys (Maraca mulatta). Anat Rec 170: 331–341Google Scholar
  7. Bell M (1974a) A comparative study of the ultrastructure of the sebaceous glands of man and other primates. J Invest Dermatol 62: 132–143PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bell M (1974 b) Effect of androgen on the ultrastructure of the sebaceous gland in two species. J Invest Dermatol 62:202–210Google Scholar
  9. Bell M (1976) Ultrastructural features of gastric mucosa and sebaceous glands after ingestion of Aroclor 1242 by rhesus monkeys. In: Buckley JL (cd) Proc Natl Conf Polychlorinated Biphenyls. Environ Prot Agency, Washington DC, pp 350–358Google Scholar
  10. Brandes D, Bertini F, Smith EW (1965) Role of lysosomes in cellular lytic processes. II. Cell death during holocrine secretion in sebaceous cells. Exp Mol Pathol 4: 245–265Google Scholar
  11. Breathnach AS (1971) An atlas of the ultrastructure of human skin. Development, differentiation, and post-natal features. Churchill, London, p 340.Google Scholar
  12. Bullough WA, Laurence EB (1970) Chalone control of mitotic activity in sebaceous glands. Cell Tissue Kinet 3: 291–300PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Calman KC, Muir AW, Milne JA, Young H (1970) Survey of the distribution of steroid dehydrogenases in sebaceous glands of human skin. Br J Dermatol 82: 567–571PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Christensen AK, Gilliam SW (1969) The correlation of fine structure and function in steroid-secreting cells with emphasis on those of the gonads. In: McKerns KW (ed) The gonads. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, pp 415–488Google Scholar
  15. Dobson RL (1963) Anthramine carcinogenesis in the skin of rats. II. The pilosebaceous apparatus. J Natl Cancer Inst 31: 861–871PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Ebling FJ (1974) Hormonal control and methods of measuring sebaceous gland activity. J Invest Dermatol 62: 161–171PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eisen AZ, Holyoke JB, Lobitz WC Jr (1955) Responses of the superficial portion of the human pilosebaceous apparatus to controlled injury. J Invest Dermatol 25: 145–156PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellis RA, Henrikson RC (1963) The ultrastructure of the sebaceous glands of man. In: Montagna W, Ellis RA, Silver AF (eds) Advances in biology of skin, vol IV. The sebaceous glands. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 94–109Google Scholar
  19. Frost P, Gomez EC (1972) Inhibitors of sex hormones, development of experimental models. In: Montagna W, Van Scott EJ, Stronghton R (eds) Advances in biology of skin, vol XII. Pharmacology and the skin. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, pp 403–420Google Scholar
  20. Glenn EM, Gray J (1965) Effects of various hormones on the growth and histology of the gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) abdominal sebaceous gland pad. Endocrinology 76: 1115–1123PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Greene RS, Downing DT, Pochi PE, Strauss JS (1970) Anatomical variation in the amount and composition of human skin surface lipids. J Invest Dermatol 54: 240–247PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hamilton JB, Montagna W (1950) The sebaceous glands of the hamster: Morphological effects of androgens on integumentary structures. Am J Anat 86: 91–233Google Scholar
  23. Hartz PH (1946) Development of sebaceous glands from intralobular ducts of the parotid gland. Arch Pathol 41: 651–654Google Scholar
  24. Hirotani T, Manabe M, Ogawa H, Murayama K, Sugawa J (1982) Isolation and characterization of horny cell membrane. Arch Dermatol Res 274: 169–177PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Im MJC, Hoopes JE (1974) Enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism in normal sebaceous glands. J Invest Dermatol 62: 153–160PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ito M, Suzuki M, Motoyoshi K (1984) New findings on the proteins of sebaceous glands. J Invest Dermatol 82: 381–385PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kandutsch AA (1964) Steroid maturation in skin and epidermis. In: Montagna W, Lobitz WC Jr (eds) The epidermis. Academic Press, London New York, pp 493–510.Google Scholar
  28. Kitson N, VanLennep EW, Young JA (1978) Gap junctions in human sebaceous glands. Cell Tissue Res 190: 115–121PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Knutson DD (1974) Ultrastructural observations in acne vulgaris: The normal sebaceous follicle and acne lesions. J Invest Dermatol 62: 288–307PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kuratsune M, Yoshimura T, Matsuzaka J, Yamaguchi A (1972) Epidemiologic study of Yusho, a poisoning caused by ingestion of rice oil contaminated with a commercial brand of polychlorinated biphenyls. Environ Health Perspect 1: 119–128PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Lecaque D, Secchi J (1982) Ultrastructural changes of sebaceous glands in castrated and testosterone-treated male rats: A qualitative and quantitative study. Cell Tissue Res 226: 621–628Google Scholar
  32. Loewenstein WR, Kanno Y (1964) Studies on a epithelial cell junctions. I. Modifications of surface membrane permeability. J Cell Biol 33: 565–586Google Scholar
  33. Mitchell OG (1965) Effect of castration and transplantation on the ventral gland of the gerbil. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 119: 953–955PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Montagna W (1962a) Structure and function of skin, 2nd edn. Academic Press, London New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. Montagna W (1962 b) The skin of lemurs. Ann NY Acad Sci 102:190–209Google Scholar
  36. Montagna W (ed) (1965) Morphology of the aging skin: The cutaneous appendages. In: Advances in biology of skin, vol VI. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 129–150Google Scholar
  37. Montagna W, Parakkal PF (1974) The structure and function of skin, 3rd edn. Academic Press, London New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Mykytowycz R, Goodrich BS (1974) Skin glands as organs of communication in mammals. J Invest Dermatol 62: 124–131PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nagato T, Tandler B, Phillips J (1984) Crystalloid smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) in submeandibular acinar cells of the male round-eared rat, Tonatia silvicola. Anat Rec 208: 123–124ACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Niizuma K (1979) Lipid droplets of the sebaceous gland: Some new observations from tannic acid fixation. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 59: 401–405Google Scholar
  41. Nikkari T (1974) Comparative chemistry of sebum. J Invest Dermatol 62: 257–267PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Palay SL (ed) (1958) Morphology of secretion. In: Frontiers of cytology. Yale Univ Press, New Haven, pp 305–342Google Scholar
  43. Patterson RLS (1968) Identification of 3-alpha-hydroxy-5-alpha-androst-16-ene as the musk odor component of boar submaxillary salivary gland and its relationship to the sex odor taint in pork meat. J Sci Food Agric 19: 31–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Perry GC, Patterson RLS, Stinson CC (1972) Submaxillary salivary gland involvement in porcine mating behavior. Proc V II Int Congr Reprod Artif Insem, MunichGoogle Scholar
  45. Plewig G, Christophers E (1974) Renewal rate of human sebaceous glands. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 54: 177–182Google Scholar
  46. Plewig G, Kligman AM (1978) Proliferative activity of the sebaceous glands of the aged. J Invest Dermatol 70: 314–317PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Plewig G, Luderschmidt C (1977) Hamster ear model for sebaceous glands. J Invest Dermatol 68: 171–175PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pochi PE, Strauss JS, Downing DT (1979) Age-related changes in sebaceous gland activity. J Invest Dermatol 73: 108–111PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Potter JER, Prutkin L, Wheatley VR (1979) Sebaceous gland differentiation. I. Separation, morphology, and lipogenesis of isolated cells from the mouse preputial gland tumor. J Invest Dermatol 72: 120–127Google Scholar
  50. Rogers GE (1957) Electron microscopic observations on the structure of sebaceous glands. Exp Cell Res 13: 517–520PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rowden G (1968) Aryl sulfatase in the sebaceous glands of mouse skin. J Invest Dermatol 51: 41–50PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Sauter LS, Loud AV (1975) Morphometric evaluation of sebaceous gland volume in intact, castrated and testosterone-treated rats. J Invest Dermatol 64: 9–13PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Serri F, Huber MW (1963) The development of the sebaceous glands in man. In: Montagna W, Ellis RA, Silver AF (eds) Advances in biology of skin, vol IV. The sebaceous glands. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 1–18Google Scholar
  54. Strauss JS, Downing DT, Ebliing FJ (1983) Sebaceous glands. In: Goldsmith LE (ed) Biochemistry and physiology of the skin, vol I. Oxford Univ Press, Oxford, pp 569–595Google Scholar
  55. Takayasu S, Adachi K (1972) The in vivo and in vitro conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone by the sebaceous gland of hamsters. Endocrinology 90: 73–80PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Taylor JS, Wuthrich RC, Lloyd KM, Poland A (1977) Chloracne from manufacture of a new herbicide. Arch Dermatol 113: 616–619PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Vreeswijk L, Leene W, Kalsbeck GL (1977) Early host cell-Molluscum contagiosum virus interactions. II. Viral interactions with the fasal epidermal cells. J Invest Dermatol 69: 249–256Google Scholar
  58. Wheatley VR, Brind JL (1981) Sebaceous gland differentiation. III. The uses and limitations of freshly isolated mouse preputial gland cells for the in vitro study of hormones and drug action. J Invest Dermatol 76: 293–296Google Scholar
  59. Wheatley VR, Potter JE, Lew G (1979) Sebaceous gland differentiation. II. The isolation, separation, and characterization of cells from the mouse preputial gland. J Invest Dermatol 73: 291–296Google Scholar
  60. Wirth H, Spannagel M, Gloor M (1982) Diurnal fluctuations of cell kinetic parameters in the epidermis and the sebaceous gland of the hamster ear. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 62: 514–516Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Gillette Research InstituteRockvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations