Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mechanoreceptors and their Functions

Mechanoreceptors refer to sensory receptors that sense mechanical changes in the body such as pressure, vibration, stretching or distortion. Mechanoreceptors may be encapsulated or unencapsulated receptors. Pacinian corpuscles, Meissner's corpuscles and Ruffini's corpuscles are encapsulated while Merkel's disk and free nerve endings are unencapsulated mechanoreceptors.
Important mechanoreceptors with their properties are listed below in the table.

Sensation carried
Pacinian Corpuscle
Onion like structure; lies in subcutaneous tissue; Encapsulated
Vibration; tapping
Rapidly adapting
Meissner’s Corpuscle
Present in non-hairy skin; Encapsulated
Rapidly adapting
Ruffini’s Corpuscle (Bulbous Corpuscle)
Spindle shaped; Encapsulated
Pressure; skin stretch
Slowly adapting
Merkel’s Disk
Transducer lies on epithelial cells; Unencapsulated
Location; two-point discrimination
Slowly adapting
Free Nerve Endings
Resemble fine plant roots; Unecapsulated
Different rate of adaptation
Keywords: Mechanorecptors, Sensory receptors, Pacinian corpuscles, Meissner's corpuscles, Ruffini's corpuscles, Merkel's disk, Free nerve endings

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