The gentle touch receptors of mammalian skin

Amanda Zimmerman, Ling Bai, David D. Ginty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


The skin, our largest organ, encompasses the entire body and mediates our sense of touch. Neurophysiologically complex, the skin is innervated by a wide variety of sensory neuron subtypes, including nociceptors, which sense painful stimuli; pruriceptors, which convey itch; thermoreceptors, which register temperature information; and low-threshold mechanoreceptors (LTMRs), which encode nonpainfulmechanical stimuli, or touch.We use our sense of touch to recognize and manipulate objects, to communicate and socially interact with one another, to appreciate the textures of the foods we eat, for procreation and sexual pleasure, and in maternal nursing. The cutaneous end organs and the mechanosensory neurons that innervate them have evolved to underlie a range of sensory functions, as evidenced by the multitude of skin type specializations that are each innervated by a distinct array of sensory neuron subtypes, reflecting the diversity of functions of touch neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-954
Number of pages5
Issue number6212
StatePublished - Nov 21 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Medicine(all)


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