The cell dealt with in this chapter is distributed in the skin, either separately or in groups, mostly in the deepest layer of the epidermis. This cell is discoid, several to 10µm in diameter. It is associated with a sensory nerve terminal and is believed by many researchers, as it was by its discoverer, Merkel (1875, 1880), to be a special mechanoreceptor. Over a hundred years ago, this German histologist gave a surprisingly precise and extensive description of this cell, which he called a “Tastzelle” (tactile cell), and associated nerves in humans and animals. In honor of his achievement, the cell is now widely called the Merkel cell (Munger 1971).
KeywordsNerve Ending Sensory Nerve Terminal Myelinated Nerve Fiber Hairy Skin Neural Crest Origin
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