The harderian gland is an orbital gland of the majority of land vertebrates. It is the only orbital gland in anuran amphibians since the lacrimal gland develops later during phylogenesis in some reptilian species. Perhaps because it is not found in man, little interest was paid to this gland until about four decades ago. In recent years, however, the scientific community has shown new interest in analyzing the ontogenetic and morphofunctional aspects of the harderian gland, particularly in rodents, which are the preferred experimental model for physiologists and pathologists. One of the main characteristics of the gland is the extreme variety not only in its morphology, but also in its biochemical properties. This most likely reflects the versatility of functions related to different adaptations of the species considered. The complexity of the harderian gland is further shown in its control by many exogenous and endogenous factors, which vary from species to species. The information gained so far points to the following functions for the gland: (1) lubrication of the eye and nictitating membrane, (2) a site of immune response, particularly in birds, (3) a source of pheromones, (4) a source of saliva in some chelonians, (5) osmoregulation in some reptiles, (6) photoreception in rodents, (7) thermoregulation in some rodents, and (8) a source of growth factors.

Cell biology of the harderian gland

CHIEFFI BACCARI Gabriella;DI MATTEO L.;D'ISTRIA M.;MINUCCI S.;VARRIALE B.
1996

Abstract

The harderian gland is an orbital gland of the majority of land vertebrates. It is the only orbital gland in anuran amphibians since the lacrimal gland develops later during phylogenesis in some reptilian species. Perhaps because it is not found in man, little interest was paid to this gland until about four decades ago. In recent years, however, the scientific community has shown new interest in analyzing the ontogenetic and morphofunctional aspects of the harderian gland, particularly in rodents, which are the preferred experimental model for physiologists and pathologists. One of the main characteristics of the gland is the extreme variety not only in its morphology, but also in its biochemical properties. This most likely reflects the versatility of functions related to different adaptations of the species considered. The complexity of the harderian gland is further shown in its control by many exogenous and endogenous factors, which vary from species to species. The information gained so far points to the following functions for the gland: (1) lubrication of the eye and nictitating membrane, (2) a site of immune response, particularly in birds, (3) a source of pheromones, (4) a source of saliva in some chelonians, (5) osmoregulation in some reptiles, (6) photoreception in rodents, (7) thermoregulation in some rodents, and (8) a source of growth factors.
Chieffi, Giovanni; Chieffi, Gabriella; DI MATTEO, L.; D'Istria, M.; Minucci, S.; Varriale, B.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11591/185307
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