prostate gland


prostate gland
an organ that surrounds the urethra of males at the base of the bladder, comprising a muscular portion, which controls the release of urine, and a glandular portion, which secretes an alkaline fluid that makes up part of the semen and enhances the motility and fertility of sperm.
[1830-40]

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Chestnut-shaped male reproductive organ, located under the bladder, which adds secretions to the sperm during ejaculation of semen.

It surrounds the urethra (see urinary system) and is rounded at the top, narrowing to a blunt point. The prostate consists of 30–50 glands, supported by connective tissue, that discharge fluids into the urethra and two ejaculatory ducts. Those ducts, which also carry sperm and fluid discharged by the seminal vesicles, join the urethra inside the prostate. The prostate contributes 15–30% of the seminal fluid. It reaches its mature size at puberty. Around age 50, it commonly shrinks and decreases its secretions; an increase in size after midlife may be due to inflammation or malignancy. See also prostatic disorder.

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      chestnut-shaped reproductive organ located directly beneath the bladder in the male, which adds secretions to the sperm during the ejaculation (q.v.) of semen. The gland surrounds the urethra, the duct that serves for the passage of both urine and semen; rounded at the top, the gland narrows to form a blunt point at the bottom, or apex. The diameter in the broadest area is about 4 cm (1.6 inches). The two ejaculatory ducts (ejaculatory duct), which carry sperm and the fluid secreted by the seminal vesicles, converge and narrow in the centre of the prostate and unite with the urethra; the urethra then continues to the lower segment of the prostate and exits near the apex.

      The prostate gland is a conglomerate of 30 to 50 tubular or saclike glands that secrete fluids into the urethra and ejaculatory ducts. The secretory ducts and glands are lined with a moist, folded mucous membrane. The folds permit the tissue to expand while storing fluids. Beneath this layer is connective tissue composed of a thick network of elastic fibres and blood vessels. The tissue that surrounds the secretory ducts and glands is known as interstitial tissue; this contains muscle, elastic fibres, and collagen fibres that give the prostate gland support and firmness. The capsule enclosing the prostate is also of interstitial tissue.

      In man, the prostate contributes 15–30 percent of the seminal plasma (or semen) secreted by the male. The fluid from the prostate is clear and slightly acidic. It is composed of several protein-splitting enzymes; fibrolysin, an enzyme that reduces blood and tissue fibres; citric acid and acid phosphatase, which help to increase the acidity; and other constituents, including ions and compounds of sodium, zinc, calcium, and potassium.

      Normally the prostate reaches its mature size at puberty, between the ages of 10 and 14. Around the age of 50, the size of the prostate and the amount of its secretions commonly decrease. Increase in size after midlife, often making urination difficult, may occur as a result of inflammation or malignancy. Males who do not secrete adequate amounts of the male hormone androgen may maintain normal function of the prostate with injections of androgen. See also bulbourethral gland; seminal vesicle.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • prostate gland — prostate UK [ˈprɒˌsteɪt] / US [ˈprɑˌsteɪt] or prostate gland UK / US noun [countable] Word forms prostate : singular prostate plural prostates medical the organ in a man s body that produces a liquid that combines with and carries sperm …   English dictionary

  • prostate gland — n. a partly muscular gland surrounding the urethra at the base of the bladder in most male mammals: it secretes an alkaline fluid that is discharged with the sperm …   English World dictionary

  • Prostate gland — A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the bladder. Chestnut shaped, the prostate surrounds the beginning of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder. The prostate is actually not one but many glands, 30 50… …   Medical dictionary

  • prostate gland — gland surrounding the male urethra at the base of the bladder which produces sperm …   English contemporary dictionary

  • prostate gland — noun a firm partly muscular chestnut sized gland in males at the neck of the urethra; produces a viscid secretion that is the fluid part of semen • Syn: ↑prostate • Derivationally related forms: ↑prostatic (for: ↑prostate) • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • prostate gland — a male accessory sex gland that opens into the urethra just below the bladder and vas deferens (see illustration). During ejaculation it secretes an alkaline fluid that forms part of the semen. The prostate may become enlarged in elderly men… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • prostate gland — pros′tate gland n. anat. a partly muscular gland that surrounds the urethra of males at the base of the bladder and secretes an alkaline fluid that makes up part of the semen • Etymology: 1830–40 …   From formal English to slang

  • prostate gland — /ˈprɒsteɪt glænd / (say prostayt gland) noun the composite gland which surrounds the urethra of males at the base of the bladder …   Australian English dictionary

  • prostate gland — noun A gland in male mammals surrounding the urethra just below the urinary bladder that controls the release of urine from the bladder and produces a secretion that is the fluid part of semen …   Wiktionary

  • prostate gland — noun Date: circa 1764 a firm partly muscular partly glandular body that is situated about the base of the mammalian male urethra and secretes an alkaline viscid fluid which is a major constituent of the ejaculatory fluid …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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