ELASTIC FIBRE SYSTEM IN THE SHAFT OF ADULT HUMAN PENIS
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Elastic fibres play a central role in functioning of the penis. Detailed animal studies have quantified elastic and collagen fibre content in rat and rabbit penis. Though rabbit model is similar to human penis, it is important to determine whether findings in rabbits are reproducible in humans. To determine the distribution and volumetric density of elastic fibres in the corpus cavernosum (CC), corpus spongiosum (CS) and tunica albuginea (TA) of the shaft of adult human penis. Male cadaveric specimens from penile mid-shaft were obtained and processed routinely for histological studies using Weigert’s resorsin fuchsin stain. CC TA has an external longitudinal and inner circular layer. Buck’s fascia has principally longitudinal elastic fibres. There are multiple blood vessels in CC, CS and TA. Elastic fibres are abundant in the mid-shaft of human penis. The highest volumetric density of elastic fibres is found in the CS (40%). The elastic fibres in the CS are mainly longitudinal in orientation. There is an elaborate elastic fibre meshwork in the sub-mucosal layer of urethral epithelium, surrounding para-urethral glands and blood vessels found in the mid-shaft of human penis. Elastic fibre content in the human CS of the urethra is higher than in CC and TA. Their concentrations around the sub-mucosal zone of the urethra epithelium suggest these fibres may have an important role in the function of urethra both for ejaculation and passage of urine.