Background: The proliferating abilities of sweat glands are very limited, so researches on the repair and regeneration of sweat glands are important. First of all, we must find out reliable and specific antigen markers of sweat glands.
Objective: To investigate the antigen expression of human eccrine sweat glands.
Methods: The development of eccrine sweat glands was investigated by hematoxylin and eosin staining, and the antigen expression was detected by immunohistochemical techniques.
Results: Human eccrine sweat glands expressed cytokeratin (CK) 7, CK8, CK14, CK18, CK19 and epithelial membrane antigen (EMA). Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) was only expressed in sweat glands in the adult skin. Developing and developed sweat glands all had some cells expressing Ki67 and p63 antigens. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) was mainly localized in the secretory cells and ductal cells. Some myoepithelial cells were also labeled with anti-EGF antibody. In the older fetus, positive staining for EGF was seen in the lumen of the secretory portion. EGF receptor (EGFR) was expressed in the ducts.
Conclusions: Human eccrine sweat glands express CK7, CK8, CK14, CK18, CK19, CEA, EMA, Ki67, p63, EGF and EGFR. In skin, CEA can be used as a specific immunological marker of sweat glands.