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Revealing the Meissner Corpuscles in Human Glabrous Skin Using In Vivo Non-Invasive Imaging Techniques

  • The presence of mechanoreceptors in glabrous skin allows humans to discriminate textures by touch. The amount and distribution of these receptors defines our tactile sensitivity and can be affected by diseases such as diabetes, HIV-related pathologies, and hereditary neuropathies. The quantification of mechanoreceptors as clinical markers by biopsy is an invasive method of diagnosis. We report the localization and quantification of Meissner corpuscles in glabrous skin using in vivo, non-invasive optical microscopy techniques. Our approach is supported by the discovery of epidermal protrusions which are co-localized with Meissner corpuscles. Index fingers, small fingers, and tenar palm regions of ten participants were imaged by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and laser scan microscopy (LSM) to determine the thickness of the stratum corneum and epidermis and to count the Meissner corpuscles. We discovered that regions containing Meissner corpuscles could be easily identified by LSM with an enhanced optical reflectance above the corpuscles, caused by a protrusion of the strongly reflecting epidermis into the stratum corneum with its weak reflectance. We suggest that this local morphology above Meissner corpuscles has a function in tactile perception.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Victor Hugo Pacagnelli InfanteORCiD, Roland BennewitzORCiD, Anna Lena KleinORCiD, Martina C. MeinkeORCiD
Parent Title (English):International Journal of Molecular Sciences
First Page:7121
Year of first Publication:2023
Release Date:2023/04/24
Tag:Meissner corpuscles; glabrous skin; laser scan microscopy; optical coherence tomography; tactile perception
Impact:06.208 (2021)
Funding Information:Volkswagen Foundation (Materials Science going Life Science—New Tactile Materials for the Future of Haptic Communication).
Groups:Interaktive Oberflächen
DDC classes:500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
Open Access:Open Access
Signature:INM 2023/052
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International