Definition of exocrine in English:



  • Relating to or denoting glands that secrete their products through ducts opening onto an epithelium rather than directly into the bloodstream.

    Often contrasted with endocrine
    • ‘The ovaries perform both an exocrine function by producing ova and an endocrine function by producing estrogen and progesterone.’
    • ‘In a separate but related system, exocrine tissues secrete their products into ducts and then to the outside of the body or to the intestinal tract.’
    • ‘There are 4-5 million exocrine glands in the body and approximately one-third of them are in the palms.’
    • ‘Cystic fibrosis, a chronic genetic disorder that affects the exocrine glands, results in the production of excessive, thick mucus that obstructs the gastrointestinal tract and the lungs.’
    • ‘Pancreatic juice, an exocrine secretion, is vital for digestion.’


Early 20th century: from exo- outside + Greek krinein sift.