Scientific Illustrations | Aug 6, 2001

The sensors of human skin

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The Vater-Pacini (Pacinian) corpuscules, which are named by their discoverers Vater and Pacini, are oval bodies. They are the largest lamellar corpuscules among the nervous end organs. They are up to 4 millimeters in length and have an average size of approximately 2 millimeters. Their structure is onion-like. On average, there are 20-40 layered lamellae which are separated by interstitial fluid space.

The Pacinian corpuscules are located in large density in the deep layers of the dermis (fingers and toes) as well as in the subcutaneous tissue, in tendines, joints, periosteum and in serous cavities. They are also located in vibration corpuscules in certain areas of the vascular system.

Due to their high sensibility the corpuscules are able to perceive the smallest vibrations. They are pressure and tension receptors as well as vibration and shock receptors. The Pacinian receptors are furthermore excited by deformation, pressure or decompression, if pressure persists, they turn off.