The Pacinian corpuscle (PC) is a cutaneous mechanoreceptor sensitive to high-frequency vibrations (20–1000 Hz). The PC is of importance due to its integral role in somatosensation and the critical need to understand PC function for haptic feedback system development. Previous theoretical and computational studies have modeled the physiological response of the PC to sustained or vibrating mechanical stimuli, but they have used estimates of the receptor's mechanical properties, which remain largely unmeasured. In this study, we used micropipette aspiration (MPA) to determine an apparent Young's modulus for PCs isolated from a cadaveric human hand. MPA was applied in increments of 5 mm H2O (49 Pa), and the change in protrusion length of the PC into the pipette was recorded. The protrusion length vs. suction pressure data was used to calculate the apparent Young's modulus. Using 10 PCs with long-axis lengths of 2.99 mm ± 0.41 mm and short-axis lengths of 1.45 mm ± 0.22 mm, we calculated a Young's modulus of 1.40 ± 0.86 kPa. Our measurement is on the same order of magnitude as those approximated in previous models, which estimated the PC to be on the same order of magnitude as skin or isolated cells, so we recommend that a modulus in the kPa range be used in future studies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the University of Minnesota Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. The authors acknowledge the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at the University of Minnesota for providing resources that contributed to the research results reported within this paper (URL: http://www.msi.umn.edu ).