Pacinian corpuscle

Pacinian corpuscle

Infobox Anatomy
Name = Pacinian corpuscle
Latin = corpusculum lamellosum
GraySubject = 233
GrayPage = 1060

Caption = Pacinian corpuscle, with its system of capsules and central cavity.
a. Arterial twig, ending in capillaries, which form loops in some of the intercapsular spaces, and one penetrates to the central capsule.
b. The fibrous tissue of the stalk.
n. Nerve tube advancing to the central capsule, there losing its white matter, and stretching along the axis to the opposite end, where it ends by a tuberculated enlargement.

Caption2 = Pacinian capsule labeled at bottom.
System =
MeshName = Pacinian+Corpuscles
MeshNumber = A08.800.550.700.500.700
Dorlands =
DorlandsID =

Pacinian corpuscles are one of the four major types of mechanoreceptor. They are nerve endings in the skin, responsible for sensitivity to deep pressure touch and high frequency vibration.


These corpuscles are found in mesenteries, especially the pancreas, and are often found near joints.

Like Ruffini endings, they are found in deep subcutaneous tissue, and are considered rapidly adapting receptors ( a type of receptor also known as a phasic receptor ), which means they will not fire action potentials throughout the duration of a stimulus but, rather, will fire briefly at its beginning and end (Kandel et al., 2000).


Similar in physiology to the Meissner's corpuscle, Pacinian corpuscles are larger and fewer in number than both Merkel cells and Meissner's corpuscles (Kandel et al., 2000).

The Pacinian corpuscle is oval shaped and approximately 1 mm in length. The entire corpuscle is wrapped by a layer of connective tissue. It has 20 to 60 concentric lamellae composed of fibrous connective tissue and fibroblasts, separated by gelatinous material. The lamellae are very thin, flat, modified Schwann cells. In the center of the corpuscle is the inner bulb, a fluid-filled cavity with a single afferent unmyelinated nerve ending.


Pacinian corpuscles detect gross pressure changes and vibrations. Any deformation in the corpuscle causes action potentials to be generated, by opening pressure-sensitive sodium ion channels in the axon membrane. This allows sodium ions to influx in, creating a receptor potential.

These corpuscles are especially susceptible to vibrations, which they can sense even centimeters away (Kandel et al., 2000). Pacinian corpuscles cause action potentials when the skin is rapidly indented but not when the pressure is steady, due to the layers of connective tissue that cover the nerve ending (Kandel et al., 2000). It is thought that they respond to high velocity changes in joint position.

Pacinian corpuscles have a large receptive field on the skin's surface with an especially sensitive center (Kandel et al., 2000). They only sense stimuli that occur within this field.


The Pacinian corpuscle was named after its discoverer, Italian anatomist Filippo Pacini.

The term "Golgi-Mazzoni corpuscle" (distinct from the Golgi organ) is used to describe a similar structure found only in the fingertips. (WhoNamedIt|synd|2423)



* Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM. "Principles of Neural Science", 4th ed., p.433. McGraw-Hill, New York (2000). ISBN 0-8385-7701-6

See also

* List of human anatomical parts named after people.

External links

* [ Virginia Commonwealth University]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pacinian corpuscle — or Pacinian body [pə sin′ē ən] n. [after Filippo Pacini (1812 83), It anatomist] a type of encapsulated sensory nerve ending that is sensitive to touch and vibration, found as in the skin of the hands and feet …   English World dictionary

  • Pacinian corpuscle — Pa·cin·i·an corpuscle pə .sin ē ən also Pa·ci·ni s corpuscle pə chē nēz n a pressure sensitive mechanoreceptor that is an oval capsule terminating some sensory nerve fibers esp. in the skin (as of the hands and feet) see CORPUSCLE OF HERBST… …   Medical dictionary

  • Pacinian corpuscle — noun Etymology: Filippo Pacini died 1883 Italian anatomist Date: circa 1860 a pressure sensitive mechanoreceptor that is an oval capsule terminating some sensory nerve fibers especially in the skin …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Pacinian corpuscle — /peuh sin ee euhn/, n. (sometimes l.c.) a microscopic, onionlike body consisting of layers of connective tissue wrapped around a nerve ending, located in the deep layers of skin, tendons, etc., and functioning as a sensory receptor of pressure… …   Universalium

  • Pacinian corpuscle — noun a specialized bulblike nerve ending located in the subcutaneous tissue of the skin; occurs abundantly in the skin of palms and soles and joints and genitals • Hypernyms: ↑nerve ending, ↑nerve end • Part Holonyms: ↑skin, ↑tegument, ↑cutis …   Useful english 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

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  • corpuscle of Herbst — he(ə)rpst n any of several tactile organs that are found in birds and are related to Pacinian corpuscles Herbst Ernst Friedrich Gustav H. (1803 1893) German anatomist. Herbst spent his career teaching at the university at Göttingen. He also… …   Medical dictionary

  • Pacini corpuscle — pacinian corpuscle a type of large, ovoid, rapidly adapting, encapsulated nerve ending sensitive to pressure, touch, and vibration. The most complicated of the nerve endings, its core contains the nonmyelinated nerve terminal and its Schwann… …   Medical dictionary

  • corpuscle — 1. A small mass or body. 2. A blood cell. SYN: corpusculum. [L. corpusculum, dim. of corpus, body] amnionic c. SYN: corpus amylaceum. amylaceous c., amyloid c. SYN: corpus amylaceum. articular corpuscles …   Medical dictionary

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