The secretory clear cell of the eccrine sweat gland as the probable source of excess sweat production in hyperhidrosis

Douglas L. Bovell, Alison MacDonald, Barbara A. Meyer, Alistair D. Corbett, William M. MacLaren, Susan L. Holmes, Mark Harker

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Primary hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating in palmar, plantar and axillary body regions. Gland hypertrophy and the existence of a third type of sweat gland, the apoeccrine gland, with high fluid transporting capabilities have been suggested as possible causes. This study investigated whether sweat glands were hypertrophied in axillary hyperhidrotic patients and if mechanisms associated with fluid transport were found in all types of axillary sweat glands. The occurrence of apoeccrine sweat glands was also investigated. Axillary skin biopsies from control and hyperhidrosis patients were examined using immunohistochemistry, image analysis and immunofluorescence microscopy. Results showed that glands were not hypertrophied and that only the clear cells in the eccrine glands expressed proteins associated with fluid transport. There was no evidence of the presence of apoeccrine glands in the tissues investigated. Preliminary findings suggest the eccrine gland secretory clear cell as the main source of fluid transport in hyperhidrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1020
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011



  • Apocrine
  • Aquaporin-5
  • Hypertrophy
  • NKCC1
  • Vacuolar proton pump

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology

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