Sweating has a variety of functions in mammals including pheromone action, excretion of waste products and maintenance of the skin surface ecosystem. In a small number of mammalian species, which includes humans and the Equidae, it also has an important role in thermoregulation. This review is focused specifically on the thermoregulatory role of sweat in Equidae and the causes of sweating failure (anhidrosis). The first part describes the glandular appearance, sweat composition, and output rates; and considers the latest theories on the glandular control and secretory mechanisms. It is concluded that the glands are not directly innervated but are controlled by the interplay of neural, humoral and paracrine factors. The secretory mechanism is not as simple as previously thought and is mediated by the dynamic interaction of activating pathways, including autocrine control not only of the secretory process but probably also of secretory cell reproduction, growth, and death.
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