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J Biophys Biochem Cytol. 1960 Oct;8:467-82.

The fine structure of Meissner's touch corpuscles of human fingers.

Abstract

Thin slices of the finger pads of six individuals were fixed in buffered 1 per cent osmic acid, embedded in deaerated, nitrogenated methacrylate, and cut into thin sections for electron microscopic study. Before embedding, the slices were trimmed so as to include several digital tactile corpuscles. Some thin sections were stained in 10 per cent aqueous phosphotungstic acid solution. The principal part of Meissner's corpuscle is made up of flattened laminar cells stretching across the corpuscle in irregular layers. The perinuclear cytoplasm of these cells contains numerous small mitochondria, a sparse granular endoplasmic reticulum, and a large number of small vesicles. Nerve fibers enter the side or base of the corpuscle, lose their myelin sheaths, and follow a meandering course between the laminar cell plates. The nerve endings enter into a close appositional relationship with the flattened portions of the laminar cells. In some areas the apposed axolemma and cell membranes are slightly thickened with small vesicles located along the cell membrane or on both surfaces. These regions are interpreted as synapses. The most prominent feature of the nerve endings is an extraordinary accumulation of small mitochondria which vary in size and internal density. The nerve endings also contain vacuoles, groups of dense concentric membranes, and small dense vesicles of irregular distribution. The laminar cells are separated from one another by a dense intercellular substance of uniform thickness which also envelops the entire corpuscle. This material contains randomly oriented collagen fibers and fine fibrils bound together by a dense material at nodal points recurring at regular intervals of approximately 120 mmicro. These findings are discussed in relation to the problems of the function of Meissner's corpuscle, neural material loss and replacement, and the presence of synapses.

PMID:
13691669
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2224947
Free PMC Article
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