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      [Meibomian glands. Part I: anatomy, embryology and histology of the Meibomian glands].

      Der Ophthalmologe : Zeitschrift der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft

      Humans, Meibomian Glands, anatomy & histology, cytology, embryology, Models, Anatomic

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          The Meibomian glands are large sebaceous glands that are located as separate gland strands in parallel arrangement within the tarsal plates of the eyelids. Their oily product (meibum) is secreted by a holocrine mechanism during which the secretory cells (meibocytes) are completely transformed into the meibum after synthesis and accumulation of lipids. After production in the gland acini, meibum is transported through the ductal system via the connecting duct (ductule) and the central duct towards the orifice at the free lid margin close to the inner lid border. The embryological development of the Meibomian glands takes place during the differentiation of the eyelids in the sealing phase of the eyelids. They are not directly associated with hair follicles but share important similarities in embryology, structure and keratinization potency with the cilia. Similar to the sebaceous glands Meibomian glands are regulated via sex hormones and androgens have a supporting function whereas estrogens act antagonistically. However, in contrast to other sebaceous glands they also have a distinct innervation, apart from sympathetic and sensory primarily by parasympathetic fibers that share the innervation pattern of the lacrimal glands. The anatomy, embryology and histology of the Meibomian glands are explained here, mainly with respect to humans, in an extensive review.

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