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The morphological features of boar bulbourethral glands were examined by light and transmission microscopy. Bulbourethral glands are compound tubuloalveolar glands surrounded by a capsule of dense connective tissue and arranged in multiple lobules formed by endpieces and excretory ducts. Endpieces and excretory ducts are both lined by a single epithelium of mucous cells with a basal nucleus. Epithelial cells accumulate secretory granules containing neutral and carboxylated acid mucosubstances and a small amount of sulphated acid mucosubstances. The ultrastructure of epithelial cells varies according to the secretory cycle. In initial stages, the cells show a columnar shape and secretory granules unevenly distributed in the cytoplasm. As the synthesis of mucosubstances progresses, the amount of the secretory granules increases and the cellular shape becomes pyramidal. Secretory granules can contain inclusions and present differences among them according to their different phases of formation. In pyramidal cells, secretory products are released into the lumen by a merocrine mechanism.

Original publication




Journal article


Tissue Cell

Publication Date





7 - 18


Animals, Bulbourethral Glands, Connective Tissue, Cytoplasm, Epithelial Cells, Male, Microscopy, Electron, Transmission, Secretory Vesicles, Swine