Meissner's corpuscle

Meissner's corpuscle

Infobox Anatomy
Name = Meissners corpuscle
Latin = corpusculum tactus
GraySubject = 233
GrayPage = 1061

Caption = "Sensory nerve endings for touch" labeled at upper right.)

Caption2 = Papilla of the hand, treated with acetic acid. Magnified 350 times.

A. Side view of a papilla of the hand.
a. Cortical layer.
b. Tactile corpuscle.
c. Small nerve of the papilla, with neurolemma.
d. Its two nervous fibers running with spiral coils around the tactile corpuscle.
e. Apparent termination of one of these fibers.

B. A tactile papilla seen from above so as to show its transverse section.
a. Cortical layer.
b. Nerve fiber.
c. Outer layer of the tactile body, with nuclei.
d. Clear interior substance.
System =
MeshName = Mechanoreceptors
MeshNumber = A08.800.550.700.500
DorlandsPre = c_56
DorlandsSuf = 12261393

Meissner's corpuscles (or tactile corpuscles) are a type of mechanoreceptor. They are a type of nerve endings in the skin that are responsible for sensitivity to light touch. They are rapidly adaptive receptors.


They are distributed throughout the skin, but concentrated in areas especially sensitive to light touch, such as the fingertips, palms, soles, lips, tongue, face and the skin of the male and female genitals.

They are primarily located just beneath the epidermis within the dermal papillae.


Meissner's corpuscles are encapsulated unmyelinated nerve endings, which consist of flattened supportive cells arranged as horizontal lamellae surrounded by a connective tissue capsule. The corpuscle is between 30-140 μm in length and 40-60 μm in diameter.

A single nerve fiber meanders between the lamellae and throughout the corpuscle.

Age Related Changes

The number of Meissner corpuscles per square millimeter of human skin on the fingertips drops fourfold between the ages of 12 and 50. The rate at which they are lost correlates well with the age-related loss in touch sensitivity for small probes (Thornbury and Mistretta, 1981).


Any physical deformation in the corpuscle will cause an action potential in the nerve. Since they are rapidly adapting or phasic, the action potentials generated quickly decrease and eventually cease. (This is the reason one stops "feeling" one's clothes.)

If the stimulus is removed, the corpuscle regains its shape and while doing so (ie: while physically reforming) causes another volley of action potentials to be generated.

Because of their superficial location in the dermis, these corpuscles are particularly sensitive to touch and vibrations, but for the same reasons, they are limited in their detection because they can only signal that something is touching the skin.

Comparison with other receptors

Feelings of deep pressure (from a poke, for instance) are generated from Pacinian corpuscles (the only other type of phasic tactile mechanoreceptor), which are located deeper in the dermis, and some free nerve endings.

Also, Meissner's corpuscles do not detect pain; this is signalled exclusively by free nerve endings.


Meissner's corpuscles were discovered by the anatomist Georg Meissner (1829-1905).


ee also

External links

* Donald L. Rubbelke D.A. [ Tissues of the Human Body: An Introduction. McGraw-Hill. 1999 Meissner's and Pacinian corpuscles]
*Dawn A. Tamarkin, Ph.D. [ Anatomy and Physiology Unit 15 Vision and Somatic Senses: Touch and Pressure]
* S Gilman. [ Joint position sense and vibration sense: anatomical organisation and assessment.] "Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry" 2002;73:473-477
* - "Integument pigmented skin, Meissner's corpuscles "
* - "Meissner's Tactile Corpuscle"
* [ Histology at rutgers.eud]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Meissner's corpuscle — Meiss·ner s corpuscle mīs nərz n any of the small elliptical tactile end organs in hairless skin containing numerous transversely placed tactile cells and fine flattened nerve terminations called also corpuscle of Meissner Meissner Georg (1829… …   Medical dictionary

  • Meissner's corpuscle — /muys neuhrz/ See tactile corpuscle. [after German anatomist Georg Meissner (1829 1905), who described them in 1853] * * * …   Universalium

  • Meissner's corpuscle — Meiss′ner s cor′puscle [[t]ˈmaɪs nərz[/t]] n. hic (lab cbl) tactile corpuscle • Etymology: after German anatomist G. Meissner (1829–1905), who described them …   From formal English to slang

  • meissner's corpuscle — noun Usage: usually capitalized M Etymology: after Georg Meissner died 1905 German physiologist : any of the small elliptical tactile end organs in hairless skin containing numerous transversely placed tactile cells and fine flattened nerve… …   Useful english dictionary

  • corpuscle of Meissner — n MEISSNER S CORPUSCLE …   Medical dictionary

  • Corpuscle — may refer to: a small free floating biological cell, especially a blood cell, but not a fat cell a nerve ending such as Meissner s corpuscle or a Pacinian corpuscle any member of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge or Corpus Christi College, Oxford …   Wikipedia

  • Meissner — Meißner (transliterated Meissner) may refer to: Hoher Meißner, mountain massif in Hesse, Germany Meißner, a community in the district Werra Meißner Kreis, in Hesse, Germany Meissner, Meißner or Meisner is a German surname and may refer to:… …   Wikipedia

  • corpuscle of meissner — Usage: usually capitalized M : meissner s corpuscle …   Useful english dictionary

  • Tactile corpuscle — Meissner s corpuscle Sensory nerve endings for touch labeled at upper right.) Papilla of the hand, treated w …   Wikipedia

  • Meissner corpuscle ganglion plexus — Meiss·ner corpuscle, ganglion, plexus (mīsґner) [Georg Meissner, German physiologist, 1829–1905] see plexus submucosus and see under corpuscle and ganglion …   Medical dictionary

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