Merkel cell receptors: structure and transducer function

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Science  09 Oct 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4517, pp. 183-186
DOI: 10.1126/science.7280690


An electron microscopic and electrophysiological investigation was made of Merkel cell-neurite complexes in the sinus hair follicles of the cat. These mechanoreceptors respond with very precise phase locking to heavy-frequency vibratory stimuli as well as to static hair displacements. The mechanoelectric transduction process is faster than that known for any other somatic mechanoreceptor. These data show that the nerve endings themselves and not the Merkel cells are the mechanoelectric transducer elements in these receptors.