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Lamellated corpuscles (pacinian) in relation to the larger human limb vessels and a comparative study of their distribution in the mesentery.

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LAMELLATED CORPUSCLXS (E'A('IX1AN)
I N RELATION TO THE IiARGER I I U X A N LIMB
V E S S E L S AND A COhfIPARATTVE STI'DY O F
T H E I R DISTRIBUTION I N THE
MESENTERY
WALTER 11. ROBERTS
Schools of M e r l m n c and Dentistry, Collrgc of Mtilzcal Evangelists,
Lorna L i n d a , Cnlzfornia
FOUR
FIGURES
INTROI~~CTIOX
Tlie first part of this study ~ v a sdesigned as an iiiqiiiry into
the functional sigiiificaiicc in inan of the anatomic location of
tlie lamellated corpuscles of the Vater-Paciiiian type wliich
occur in the vicinity of the larger blood vessels of tlic1 1iml)s.
The second part of the study has t o do with tlic distribntion of
Paciiiiaii corpuscles in the Iiunlaii nicsentcry arid in tliat of
the retroperitoiieal tissues i l l the ricinitp of tlic inferior
mesenteric artery. Much of the experimental work concerning: thc cffect of stiuinlation of Pacinian corpnsclcs upon the
circulation has involved those in the niesenterp of the cat.
*4 comparative study \\-as also rriade of the nicsenterics of a
fen- other small aniriials.
It lias been shown in cats and in cloys that tlie conrinuous
syrnpathetic plexus about the aorta, iliac, and femoral vcssels
gradually disappears near the bifurcation of the femoral
artery and below this level is replaced by nerve fibers, both
myelinatcd arid unmyelinated, from adjacent nerve trunks.
These increase in number distally (IToollarcl, '26). Woollard
('26) observed that the myclinated nerve fibers first wind
about the vessels, including the smaller branches and then,
593
T H E A \ A T O M I C ~ L R E C O R D , V O L . 133, N O
AP'BIL 19.59
4
594
WALTER H. ROBERTS
after losing their myelin sheaths, end in the adventitia in blunt
lateral enlargements. The parent fiber, by other collaterals,
may supply the adjacent fascia, end in Pacinian corpuscles in
the immediate vicinity of the vessels, or terminate in one of
these two ways in the subcutaneous tissues. Because of the
distribution of the collaterals he postulated that stimulation of
these deeply-placed Pacinian corpuscles might initiate axon
reflexes capable of causing dilatation of the blood vessels in the
skin, analogous to the effect of other antidromic impulses. MeYowall, ( '56) is in general agreement with this view but points
out that not all vasodilator impulses are antidromic inasmuch
AS the unmyelinated sympathetic fibers, which arc e f f went
to the muscular coat of the arteries and the veins, may convey vasodilator as well as vasoconstrictor impulses. (See
also Nitchell and Patterson, '54). I n many respects the nerve
supply of the blood vessels of the hind limb of the cat is much
like that of the lower limb in man. I t is said that the brachial
vessels have a scanty innervation from adjacent peripheral
nerves as contrasted with the ulnar and radial arteries which
are well supplied. The subclavian artery has an abundant
sympathetic supply from adjacent ganglia as well as receiving
branches from the phrenic nerve and posterior cord of the
brachial plexus; the latter also supplies the axillary artery
(Dick, '58).
I n the thoracic region Pacinian corpuscles are found not
only in the adventitia of the aorta but also associated with
the phrenic and intercostal nerves and vessels. I n the abdominal region they occur in the properitoneal connective tissues
of the anterior abdominal wall, in the retroperitoneal connective tissues posterior to the pancreas and in the region
of the coeliac plexus (Sheehan, '33). A specific type of Pacinian corpuscle has been described which is said to be characteristic of the retroperitoneal tissues, consisting of several
small bulbs with discrete lamellae, which in turn are surrounded by common lamellae (Takashi, Sakai, and Usizima,
'55). Pacinian corpuscles have also been discovered incidentally in many surgical and anatomical specimens from the
P A C I E I A X C O R P U S C L E DISTRIBUTION
595
pelvis, such as the connective tissues about the seminal vesicles, the subserosa of the uterine tube and of the bladder, in
the wall of the female urethra and in association with the
plexus of Frankenhausen in the vaginal wall proper (Suzuki,
'39).
Pacinian corpuscles are said to be constantly present in the
extrasynovial connective tissue of joints. They are found in
the subcutaneous tissues of the palins of the hands and soles
of the feet and on the dorsal surfaces superficial to the extensor retinaculae. They serve as end organs of myelinated nerve
fibers derived from the superficial and deep nerves supplying
the hand, including the digital nerves, and from the medial
and lateral plantar nerves in the feet. The palmar and
plantar aponeuroses are traversed by supplying nerves in
some instances. Digital extensor tendons are supplied at the
musculotendinous junctions by nerve endings of the Ruffini
type, small Pacinian corpuscles and free endings. Those present in the connective tissue between the flexor tendons and
the phalanges are supplied by branches of the digital nerves
that extend through hiatuses in the fibrous flexor sheaths
(Stilwell, '57). Stilwell ( '57) has proposed on the strength
of experimental evidence that, in addition to subserving the
sensation of proprioception, Pacinian corpuscles, along with
free nerve endings and those of the Ruffini type, may play a
role in reflex muscular activities, including postural reflexes.
The character of the discharge produced by stimulation of a
group of Pacinian corpuscles has been found to bear a striking resemblance to that of other sensory and motor nerve
impulses (Adrian and ITmrath, '29) , confirming the opinion
of Adrian and Bronk ('29) that the character of the discharge,
in these instances, is determined by some property common
to all neurones which have medullated axons.
Some of the digital Pacinian corpuscles have been shown
to be intimately related to the proper digital arteries from
which they derive their blood supply (Cauna and Mannan,
'58). I n these instances their veins were shown to join the
outlet of arteriovenous anastomoses. Cauna and Mannan
596
WALTER H. ROBERTS
('58) arc of the opinion that the corpuscles so related would
be stimulated by an impedance of tlieir veiioiis outflow as
when tlie arteriovenons anastomoses open and heconie filled
with blood. They thought it possible that impulses from the
Paciriiari corpuscles so stimulated might reflexly regulate the
function of the anastomoses and thus also the local blood
pressure. The existence of such a mechanism was suggested
hy tlie experimental work of Gammon and Rronk, ('35).
These workers demonstrated that the Pacinian corpusclcs in
the cat's mesentery, which occur in large nuttihers along the
hranclies of the superior mcsenteric artery, could be stirnulatcd by an increase in pressure of the fluid being used to
pcrfnse an isolated segment of the artery. The occurrcwc at
the same time of a vasoconstriction of a lomer segment being
pclrfused at a constant pressure, they attributed to a reflex
iiicchanism. A vasoconstriction did not alwavs occur. -4s
noted albove Woollard ( 2%) had postulated, relative to cutanco w blood vessels, a directly opposite effect, namely that of
w sodila tion.
Electron microscopy has shown that the concentrically a r iwigcd lamellae of the corpuscles are made up of cells whose
cytoplasm is greatly attenuated. Collagen f i l n c w a r c fouiicl
i n the interlamellar spaces closely applied to the Iwrnellae.
An accessory blood supply and an accessory nerve supply aside
( r o w the supplying mpclinated nome fiber and accornpaii;viiig
l,lootl ressels, a t one time thought t o have a fuiictional sigiiif i c a n c ~has
~ , not becii clemonstratc~ci(Pease ant1 Quilliani. '<5i).
(Kce also Elleiherger and Trautniaiin, '21).
Benign Paciniaii neurofibromt-ita in man liavc l ~ e on l ~ e r v ~ l
by Prichard and C'uster, ( '52), and espcrinieiitwllv-iri~~~~c~(1
Pacinian corpuscle tumors in the skin of the dacli liave been
reported by Rigdon ( '%), although resemblances of the latter
tumors to actual corpuscles were not striking, a s jntlged by
the photomicrographs. ' ' Pavavaginal, calcified, Pacinian ?orpuscles" were a cause of dysparennia in one patient as reported by Pellanda ( '35).
PACINIAN CORPUSCLE DISTRIBUTION
597
Comparative studies have shown that the cat is particularly
well supplied with Pacinian corpuscles. I n this animal they
are widely distributed in the mesentery as indicated above.
Other sites where they are typically present in the cat are the
connective tissue posterior t o the pancreas, within the substance of the pancreas and in other glands such as the submandibular salivary gland (Wiedersheim, '09). They occur
also, as in man, in the plantar fascia as terminal endings of
branches of the plantar nerves and are found deep to the
flexor tendons of toes.
A Pacinian corpuscle from the niesciitery of a mouse is
illustrated in Beniiinghoff's text ( '52) which as indicated below, must be an unusual occurrence. Goss ('54) states that
Pacinian corpuscles are numerous along the tibiae of the
rabbit. (See also Brash, '51).
MATEIZI9LS AKD METHOUS
Tlie tissues examined iiicludccl the lai*gei*limb vessels of
two stillborn full term fetuses and of three adult cadavers.
These were excised within their connective tissue sheaths
either in continuity or in short sections. The mesentery of one
of the fetuses was removed intact from the posterior abdominal wall so as to include the superior nieseiiteric vessels
and tlieir branches up to the wall of the small intestine. A
comparative study was made of the mesentery (and a section
of the pancreas) of a 10-day-old dog and the mesenteries of
the following full grown animals: two rabbits, a white rat, a
mouse, a gopher and an opossum. F o r the niost part the
tissues were embedded in paraffin arid serially sectioned ; the
fern instances in which the dissecting nlicroscope was used
have been indicated.
RE S GI, T S
Distribution of Pminim corpuscles i i i relntioiz
t o specific structures iiz t h e l t u i i r u i k
Full tern2 fetus ao. 2
( a ) Femoral, popliteal, and posterior tibia1 vessels iemoved
in continuity unilaterally : 7 Paciiiian corpuscles n-ei*efound
598
WALTER 1%.ROBERTS
in tlie adventitia, two in that of the femoral vessels and 5 in
that of the posterior tibial vessels (figs. 1 and 2 ) .
(b) Short sections of posterior tibial vessels removed from
the lower third of the leg and of the popliteal vessels 011 the
opposite side : Yacinian corpuscles were present in the adventitia of the posterior tibial vessels but xione in that of the
popliteal vessels.
(c) Brachial vessels removed bilaterally Prom low-cr asilltie
to their bifurcation: no Pacinian corpuscles were noted in
their adventitia on either side.
Full term fetus 920. 3
( a ) Short section of the posterior tibial vessels and of the
popliteal vessels removed unilaterally : 5 Pacinian corpuscles
were found in the adventitia of the posterior tibial vessels ;
none were found in the adventitia of the popliteal vessels.
( b ) Retroperitoneal tissues at the root of the inferior
niesenteric artery including the aortic bodies : a single Pacinian corpuscle was found in the adventitia of a sniall vein
(fig. 3).
(c) Mesentery: a single Pacinian corpuscle was found in
the adventitia of a medium-sized vein (fig. 4).
Adult specimens - short sections (about one inch
lorzg) of the following .vessels
No. 1. Posterior tibial vessels, middle third of leg, male
Japanese: no Pacinian corpuscles were found in their adventitia.
No. 4. ( a ) Anterior tibial vessels near the knee, male
negro: three Pacinian corpuscles were found in their adventitia. (b) Posterior tibial vessels middle of leg, (studied
with the dissecting microscope) : no Pacinian corpuscles
were seen.
No. 6. Anterior tibial vessels near the knee, male Mexican
(studied with the dissecting microscope) : no Pacinian corpuscles were seen.
PACINIAN CORPUSCLE DISTRIBUTION
599
It was noted that, in one of the Pacinian corpuscles in the
adventitia of the posterior tibial vessels of the full term
fetus no. 2, the axon had divided; one of the corpuscles in the
adventitia of the femoral vessels had three end bulbs. An
occasional corpuscle not included in the number previously
mentioned was seen in the perimysium of skeletal muscle
fibers that happened to be included in the section.
I n the comparative material the findings were as follows:
Cut’s mesefitery. Pacinian corpuscles were numerous and
visible macroscopically, their (distribution corresponding to
Gammon and Bronk’s ( ’ 3 5 ) description.
JIeserztel-y a d pancreas of dog. No Pacinian corpuscles
were encountered.
Jleseizteries of rabbits, white rat, wmzise, gopher and oppossum. (Studied under dissecting microscope) : no Pacinian
corpuscles were encountered.
DISCTJSSLON
The distribution of Pacinian corpuscles in relation to the
vessels of the lower limb in man corresponds to previous descriptions of their distribution in relation to the vessels of the
limbs of cats and dogs. They appear to be more numerous in
the adventitia of the posterior tibial and anterior tibial vessels than in that of the femoral vessels. Their distribution in
this respect parallels that of the myelinated nerve fibers entering the perivascular nerve plexuses. Their apparent absence in the adventitia of the brachial vessels may be similarily
explained. The finding of only one corpuscle in the human
mesentery, and only one in the retroperitoneal tissues about
the root of the inferior mesenteric artery suggests that they
do not have an important function in respect to the splanchnic
circulation in man. That Pacinian corpuscles are numerous
in the mesentery of the cat is apparent but statements indicating that they occur in the mesentery of many animals
must be taken with some reservations, as indicated by the
findings indicated above, which of course are but a sampling
of a few species.
600
WALTER H. ROBERTS
SUMMARY
1. I n man Pacinian corpuscles occur in the adventitia of
tlie anterior and posterior tibia1 vessels and i n that of the
femoral vessels, but they a r e not numerous. This distribution
corresponds with that in some experimental animals such a s
the cat and the dog.
2. The alniost complete absence of lamellated corpuscles
in tlie liunian mesentery and in tlie tissues about the root of
the inferior mesenteric artery would indicate that they a r e
not of importance in respect to the splanchnic circulation in
inan.
3. Comparative studies show that the distribution of Pacinian corpuscles in the mesentery varies widely i n cliff erent
animals, the cat being tlie only animal i n this particular study
in which tlicy were found to bc present.
ACKNOTVLEPGMENT
The author wishes to express his tlianlis to the Head of tlie
Department of hnatorny, Professor Harold Shryocli, for
helpful assistance in the writing of this paper, to Dr. Otto F.
I<anipmeier for his encouragment at the coninimccment of
tliis project and t o the Audio-Visual dcpartmeiit for taking
tlie Vhotomicrogi.ap1is.
LITERATURE CITED
E. l)., AND D. TY. BRONK 1929 The discharge of jIllp~5e5in motor
iieive fibres. J. Phpsiol., 6 7 : 119-131.
ADRIAN,E. D., A N D K. UMIZATH1929 The impulse discharge from the Pacinian
corpusclc. Ibid., 6 8 : 139-154.
BESNISUIIOFF,
A. 1952 Iiehrbuch der Anatoniie des Menschen. 4th. ed. Vol. 11,
p. 466 mid vol. 111, p. 322.
B R ~ S HJ,. C., 1931 Cnnniiigham's Tevtbook of Anatomy, 9th ctl., Ohford U.
Press, S e w Pork, pp. 1159-1160.
C ' I ~ N A , N., AND G. M ~ N N B N1958 Structure of human digital Paciilian corpuscle?. J. Annt., 92: 1-20.
ELLENBERGER,
TV., A N D A. TRAUTNANN1921 Histologie der Hanssnugetiere,
5th rd. Parep, Berlin, pp. 73, 74.
G.\;lIJfON,
G. I)., AND 11. U
'
. BRONK 1935 The discharge of impulses from
Pacinian corpuscles in the mesentery and its relation t o vascular
changes. Am. J. Physiol., 114: 77-84.
ADRIIPI',
P A C I X I A N CORPUSCLE DISTRIBUTION
Goss, C. M.
1954 Gra) 's Anatomy, 26th cd. 1 - m a d Febiger,
p. 1178.
MCDOWALL,R. J. S. 1956 The Control of the Circulation of the
Damson and Sons Ltd., Toronto, pp. 35-17, 46, 49, 93.
MITCHELL,G. A. G., SXD E. L. P ~ T T E R S1954
O N Basic Anatomy,
P E a S E , D. C., AND T. A. QUILLIAM
1957 Electron nlicroscopp O f
601
Philadelpliia,
Blood. Wm.
pp. 288-292.
the Paciniaii
corpuscle. J . Riophys. Riochern. Cytol., 3 : 331-3-12.
C. 1935 Parnvagiiial, calcified, ossified P a e i n i m corpuscles. Case.
Lyon med., 155: 541-545.
P I C K , J. 1958 The innervation of the arteries iri the upper limb of man. Anat.
Rec., 130: 103-123.
P R I C H L 4 R D , R. IT., B N D R. P. CUSTER 1932 Paciniari ncurofibroma. Cancer, 5:
29 7-30 1.
RIGDON, R. H. 1955 Ncurogenic tumors i n the duck - a n espeiiniental study.
Am. J. Path., 3 1 : 583.
S H E E H S N , D. 1933 The clinical xigiiificaiicc of the nerve endings in the
mesentery. Lancet, 2 2 8 : 409-413.
STILWELL,
U. I,., JK. 1957 The iiiiiervation of deep structures of the foot. Am.
J. Annt., 101: 59-73.
1957 The iniierrzttion o f deep structures of the haiid. Ibid., ZOI :
75-1 00.
81-ZUKI, VON KOJI 1939 Vnter Pacinische Xorperchen in der Tube, Zent1alb.
Cryink., 63: 57-60.
TARASHI,M., I. S A I L 4 1 AND 13. USIZIIIA 195.5 On the terniiilal neural apparatus
detectable in the rc,troperitonenm of rnan - a complex pattern of Paciiiian corpuscle. Anat. Rw., 13's: 17-37.
\
%
r
~
~K. ~1909
~
~Vergleichentle
t
~
~
~Anatomic
~
~ Der
~
,Wirlheltiere, Fiseher, Jenn,
pp. 369-370.
SVOOLL.~RD,
H. H. 1926 The innervation o f blood vessels. Heart, 13: 319-336.
PELLANL4,
PLATE 1
EXPLANATION OF FIGURES
1 Lamellated corpusele in adventitia of femoral artery of fetus (no. 3). X 168.
2
Lamellated corpuscle in adventitia of posterior tibia1 vessels of fetus (no. 3).
X 168.
3 Lamellated corpuscle in retroperitoneal tissues about inferior mesenteric
artery fetus (no. 3 ) . X 168.
4 Lamellated corpuscle in mesentery of fetus (no. 3). X 168.
GO2
PACIXIAN CORPUSCLE D1 RTRXBUTION
WALTER H. KOBRRTII
603
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