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Logo of jphysiolThe Journal of Physiology SiteMembershipSubmissionJ Physiol
J Physiol. Feb 1969; 200(3): 763–796.4.
PMCID: PMC1350526

The structure and function of a slowly adapting touch corpuscle in hairy skin

Abstract

1. Slowly adapting cutaneous mechanoreceptors, in the cat and primates, have been studied by histological and neurophysiological methods.

2. Each touch corpuscle is a dome-shaped elevation of the epidermis, whose deepest layer contains up to fifty specialized tactile cells.

3. Nerve plates, enclosed by the tactile cell (Merkel cells), are connected to a single myelinated axon in the dense collagenous core of the corpuscle.

4. The corpuscle generated > 1000 impulses/sec when excited by vertical surface pressure. The response was highly localized and showed a low mechanical threshold, the frequency being dependent upon the velocity and amplitude of the displacement. There was a period of rapid adaptation before a sustained response which might continue for > 30 min.

5. A quantitative analysis of the responses to excitation by displacements of differing amplitude, velocity and duration is included.

6. The discharge of touch corpuscle units evoked by a mechanical stimulus was temperature-sensitive, and was enhanced by a fall in skin temperature.

Full text

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Selected References

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