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Cutaneous mechanoreceptors with small, accurate receptive fields are found in areas needing accurate taction (e. g. the fingertips). In the fingertips and lips, innervation density of slowly adapting type I and rapidly adapting type I mechanoreceptors are greatly increased. These two types of mechanoreceptors have small discrete receptive fields and are thought to underlie most low-threshold use of the fingers in assessing texture, surface slip, and flutter.
Here we used a saphenous skin/nerve preparation to determine if these anatomical changes affect the functional response characteristics of cutaneous sensory neurons. Overexpression of NT3 significantly increased the responses of slowly adapting type 1 (SA1) low-threshold mechanoreceptors and Aδ high-threshold mechanoreceptors to suprathreshold mechanical stimulation. It also resulted in significantly faster conduction velocities of SA1 fibers.
An electron microscopic study of primary afferent terminals from slowly adapting type 1 receptors in the cat (1983) by K Semba, P Masarachia, S Melamed, M Jacquin, S Harris, G Yang, M D Egger.