Critical Periods in the Development of Mechanoreceptors
Mammalian encapsulated mechanoreceptors depend on sensory innervation for their development and maintenance (Zelená, 1964, 1976). When their nerves are crushed or transected during an early stage of development, not only the nerve terminals, but also the non-neuronal cells of the receptors rapidly degenerate and disintegrate. The early developmental stage is termed the critical period of development, as the loss of sensory innervation leads to the destruction of mechanoreceptors, and the neogenesis of a new set of receptors is seriously hampered or impossible (Zelená and Hník, 1963). During maturation, the auxiliary structure of sensory receptors becomes gradually resistant to denervation (Werner, 1973; Schiaffino and Pierobon Bormioli, 1976) until fully differentiated mechanoreceptors of adult animals survive after axotomy and can be reinnervated again when their nerves regenerate (Zelená and Hník, 1963; Schröder, 1974).
KeywordsSciatic Nerve Schwann Cell Critical Period Inner Core Axon Terminal
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