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Stumpf, P.; Welsch, U. (2002): Cutaneous eccrine glands of the foot pads of the rock hyrax (Procavia capensis, Hyracoidea, mammalia). In: Cells Tissues Organs, Nr. 2-3: S. 215-226


In order to find correlations between skin gland morphology and specific ethological features, the cutaneous glands of the foot pads of Procavia capensis were studied by histological and various histochemical methods and by electron microscopy. In the foot pads, abundant specific eccrine skin glands occur, which consist of coiled tubular secretory portions and coiled ducts. The wall of the secretory part is composed of cuboidal glandular cells and myoepithelial cells. Among the glandular cells two types occur: clear and dark cells. Clear cells have numerous mitochondria and form a basal labyrinth, indicating fluid transport. Dark cells, which stain strongly with periodic acid-Schiff, contain a highly developed perinuclear Golgi apparatus, large amounts of rough endoplasmic reticulum and many secretory granules indicating production of glycoproteins. Cytokeratin (CK) 19 was found in secretory compartments and ducts, CK14 only in duct cells. Single cells of the secretory coils and ducts may be stained with antibodies against antimicrobial peptides. Some glandular cells contain proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive nuclei especially in the ducts indicating an increased cell proliferation. Terminal transferase (TdT)-mediated d-UTP nick-end labeling-positive nuclei can be detected predominantly in the secretory coils and rarely in the transitional portions between ducts and end pieces. We suppose that proliferating cells migrate from the ducts to the secretory coils. The secretory product of the eccrine cutaneous glands seems to improve the traction between the foot pads of these animals and the steep and smooth rock formations among which they live.