Clustering of Pacinian corpuscle afferent fibres in the human median nerve

Gang Wu, Rolf Ekedahl, Birgit Stark, Thomas Carlstedt, Bruno Nilsson, Rolf G. Hallin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


To further study the functional organisation of human peripheral nerves, the intrafascicular arrangement of afferent fibres supplying Pacinian corpuscles (PCs) was explored by percutaneous microneurography using thin-calibre, concentric needle electrodes. In normal adults, 20 PC afferents were identified in 13 recording sites. Low-amplitude (less than 30 μm) vibratory stimuli to the skin were applied with tuning forks oscillating at 128 Hz or 256 Hz and response patterns of individual PC units were studied. In many recording sites, two, sometimes even three, PC afferents with adjacent or overlapping receptive fields in the hand were clustered in the nerve. The observed incidence in the records containing a certain number of PC units was compared with the expected probability calculated according to the hypothesis that all nerve fibres are randomly organised in peripheral nerves. The results suggested that PC afferents are partially segregated in the nerve. In addition, PC afferents were neighbouring on slowly adapting type II (SAII) units and skin sympathetic activity in individual fascicles. SAII units often innervated the same skin area as PC units, but did not respond to vibration. The data provided additional information regarding the functional organisation of the human peripheral nerve and the mechanisms underlying the sense of vibration in man with special regard to population behaviour of neighbouring PC mechanoreceptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-409
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cutaneous mechanoreceptor
  • Human
  • Microneurography
  • Pacinian afferent
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Vibrotactile stimuli

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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