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Functions of the Foreskin: Purposes of the Prepuce

Excerpt from this article at DrMomma.org



Immunological Protection


The mucous membranes that line all body orifaces are the body’s first line of immunological defense. Glands in the foreskin produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme. (5) Lysozyme is also found in tears and mother’s milk. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, an immune system component, aboud in the foreskin’s outer surface. (6) Plasma cells in the foreskin’s mucosal lining secrete immunoglobulin’s, antibodies that defend against infection. (7)

Rigorously controlled studies have also demonstrated that the foreskin plays a protective role in shielding the rest of the penis and thus the rest of the body from the contagion of common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) encountered during sexual activity. (8)

In infancy, antibacterial substances, such as the complex sugars (glyconutrients) in breastmilk, the oligosaccharides, are passed from mother to child during breastfeeding and are secreted in the baby’s urine. (9) The penis retains these substances in the foreskin. Universy studies have shown that these substances protect against urinary tract infections (UTIs), as well as from infections of other parts of the body. (10) Babies excrete in their urine 300-500 mililgrams of oligosaccharides every day. These compounds prevent virulent strains of Escherichia coli (e.Coli) from adhering to the mucosal lining of the entire urinary tract, including the foreskin and glans.

Researchers conducting immunological experiments with the foreskins of bulls have found that plasma cells in the mucosal lining of the foreskin secrete immunoglobulin. (11) The researchers hypothesize that this provides immunity from bacteria and other germs. This is likely to work the same in other mammals, including humans.

Apocrine glands are important glands found in the skin. They are found in the foreskin and elsewhere on the body. (12) They secrete the important lysosomal enzymes cathepsin B, lysozyme, chymotrypsin, and neutrophil elastase. (13) All of these enzymes help protect the body from many kinds of bacteria. These enzymes are also found in tears and other bodily fluids. Human apocrine glands also produce cytokine, a nonantibody protein that generates an immune response on contact with specific antigens. (14) All these substances have immunological functions and protect the penis from viral and bacterial pathogens. This natural protective function has been destroyed in circumcised males.
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