Milkfactory – Prostate

May 12, 2010

The prostate is a very important organ within the reproductive system, it´s probably the best known gland together with the testicles. And as with the balls I´d go as far as to say that the prostate is indeed a sex-organ. But that is another story still to appear in a future post. Today I want to take a look at the famous gland in its property as one of the two main structures contributing to semen-production.

prostate, vesicles, ampullae

Note that every man bears just one single prostate gland, although any other glandular structure of the reproductive system comes in pairs!

Some important basics:

The prostate is made of glandular, connective and muscular tissue. The main function of the prostate is to produce, store and secrete a slightly alkaline fluid, milky or white in appearance, that liquefies the male ejaculate and provides secondary nourishment to the spermatozoa (supporting motility). The prostate has many small grape shaped gland chambers (about 30-50), called acini, which produce and secrete the prostatic fluid into the prostatic ducts during the ejaculatory process.

prostate

artist impression of inner gland

Among other components in prostatic fluid, the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) – at the appropriate time – undoes the effect of the clotting enzyme derived from seminal vesicle fluid. The clotting enzyme makes the ejaculate gel (and “glues” the semen in place by the female’s cervix in her vagina). For a few minutes the sperm stay inside this gel. Within 15 to 30 minutes PSA enzyme in the semen dissolves the clot and frees the sperm to swim (into the uterus).

Let me briefly note which secretory product of the prostate is good for what action within the seminal bulk:

  • Zinc – bears an antibacterial factor,
  • Citrate – cares for the transport of sperm,
  • Spermine – is responsible for the odor of semen and good for cell proliferation,
  • Cholesterol and Lipidsprotect the sperm,
  • PSA (Seminin) and the Plasminogen Activator – work on semen liquefaction.

As I have outlined here the prostate produces about 30% of the volume of a given ejaculation! Some sources indicate a range concerning the volume and speak of 15-30%, which means that the contribution mainly of the seminal vesicles must compensate. Last not least this renders the seminal vesicles the most prolific milkfactory of the male system! More about that in my next post.

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