Population behaviour of human cutaneous mechanoreceptive units

R. G. Hallin, T. Carlstedt, G. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Groups of fibres rather than single afferents may be responsible for encoding various intensity aspects of tactile skin stimulation. Reconstruction of population responses of primary afferent fibres to skin displacement provided data in support of this idea, but evidence from direct recordings that demonstrated multifibre activity deriving from groups of single units firing in response to defined skin stimuli were not reported. Procedures are summarised which allow identification and sampling of such recordings in man. For SAII units it was demonstrated how different directions of skin stretch engaging a particular cutaneous area produced different responses of a unit population innervating that site. In response to localised vibratory stimuli synchronous discharges of several co-activated PC afferents were recorded at each vibratory cycle, which is a previously not described pattern of peripheral PC encoding. Population projection of activity within modality segregated clusters of afferents supplying the same skin area might serve as basic projection units and constitute the peripheral counterparts to sensory columns, believed to be the central cognitive correlates, in the cortex. Thus, it is tempting to postulate fibre population projection as a peripheral basis for somatosensory processing in man.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 20 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Fibre population projection
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Structural and functional map

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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