Anat Cell Biol.  2017 Mar;50(1):33-40. 10.5115/acb.2017.50.1.33.

Pacinian corpuscle-like structure in the digital tendon sheath and nail bed: a study using late-stage human fetuses

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Anatomy, Seonam University College of Medicine, Namwon, Korea. 407kk@hanmail.net
  • 2Department of Anatomy, Tokyo Dental College, Tokyo, Japan.
  • 3Division of Internal Medicine, Iwamizawa Asuka Hospital, Iwamizawa, Japan.
  • 4Department of Anatomy, Akita University School of Medicine, Akita, Japan.

Abstract

Pacinian corpuscle-like structures were identified in the digital tendon sheaths and nail beds of hands obtained from eight of 12 human fetuses of gestational age 20-34 weeks (crown-rump length, 150-290 mm). The aberrant corpuscles were present in tight fibrous tissue connecting the flexor tendon sheath to the dorsal aponeurosis (138 corpuscles in the thumbs and all fingers of eight fetuses); loose fibrous tissue inside the sheath on the dorsal side of the tendon (37 corpuscles in the thumbs and all fingers of four fetuses); and the nail bed (10 clusters in the thumbs and second fingers of four smaller fetuses). The aberrant corpuscles in the tendon sheath were classified into two types: thin and short, with tightly packed lamellae, of diameter 20-40 µm and length 20-200 µm; and thick and long, with loosely packed lamellae, of diameter 70-150 µm and length 0.5-1.5 mm. The small corpuscles tended to form clusters, each containing 5-10 structures. Their similarity indicated that the tight and loose lamellae in these two types of corpuscles corresponded to typical immature and mature corpuscles, respectively, usually distributed along the palmar digital nerve. However, mature, large corpuscles were absent from the nail bed, and most aberrant corpuscles were smaller than typical corpuscles along the nerve. The aberrant corpuscles were apparently incorporated into the tendon sheath or nail bed during fetal vascular development, but they appeared to degenerate after birth due to mechanical stress from the tendon or nail.

Keyword

Aberrant Pacinian corpuscles; Flexor tendon sheath; Nail bed; Palmar digital nerve; Human fetus

MeSH Terms

Fetus*
Fingers
Gestational Age
Hand
Humans*
Parturition
Stress, Mechanical
Tendons*
Thumb

Figure

  • Fig. 1 Pacinian corpuscle-like structures in tight fibrous tissue of the digital tendon sheaths of fetuses of gestational ages 34 weeks (crown-rump length [CRL], 290 mm) (A, B) and 30 weeks (CRL, 250 mm) (C, D). Panels (B) and (D) are higher magnification views of squares in panels (A) and (C), respectively. In panels (A) and (C), the palmar digital nerve (PDN) trunk is accompanied by usual Pacinian corpuscles (arrowheads). In tight fibrous tissue connecting the palmar tendon sheath around the flexor tendon (tendon) and the dorsal aponeurosis (DAP), the corpuscle-like structures (arrows) are cut longitudinally (B, upper and D) or transversely (B, lower). art, artery; middle 2 (or 4) in a circle, middle phalangeal bone of the second (or fourth) finger; DDN, dorsal digital nerve trunk. Transverse sections. Hematoxylin and eosin staining. Scale bars=1 mm (A, C), 0.1 mm (B, D).

  • Fig. 2 Pacinian corpuscle-like structures in a tight fibrous tissue of the digital tendon sheath of a fetus of gestational age 28 weeks (crown-rump length, 230 mm). (A) The topographical anatomy, including the palmar sheath for a flexor tendon (tendon) in the distal phalangeal segment of the thumb (distal 1 in a circle). (D) The tendon sheath in the distal phalangeal segment of the second finger (distal 2 in a circle), as well as the palmar digital nerve (PDN) trunk accompanied by usual Pacinian corpuscles (arrowhead). Panels (B) and (C) are higher magnification views of the squares in panel (A), whereas panel (E) is a higher magnification of a square in panel (D). In panel (D), the structures in a circle are seen on the dorsal side of the square. In tight fibrous tissue connecting the palmar tendon sheath and the dorsal aponeurosis (DAP), the corpuscle-like structures are cut transversely (arrows in panels B, C, and E) or longitudinally (arrowhead in panel C). art, artery. Transverse sections. Hematoxylin and eosin staining. Scale bars=1 mm (A, D), 0.1 mm (B, C, E).

  • Fig. 3 Pacinian corpuscle-like structures inside the digital tendon sheath of a fetus of gestational age 23 weeks (crown-rump length, 175 mm). (A, C) The topographical anatomy around the palmar sheath of a flexor tendon (tendon) in the middle phalangeal segment of the fifth finger (middle 5 in a circle). Panel (A) is 0.1 mm distal to panel (C). The palmar digital nerve (PDN) trunk is accompanied by usual Pacinian corpuscles (arrowheads in C). Panel (B) is a higher magnification view of a square in panel (A), whereas panels (D) and (E) are higher magnification views of squares in panel (C). In loose tissue between the tendon and middle phalangeal bone, the corpuscle-like structures are scattered (arrows in panel B) or extend along the left-right axis near the bone surface (stars in panels C and D). In fibrous tissue at the base of the tendon sheath (C, E), the corpuscle-like structures (arrows) are cut longitudinally or transversely (arrows in panel E). Transverse sections. Hematoxylin and eosin staining. Scale bars=1 mm (A, C), 0.1 mm (B, D, E).

  • Fig. 4 Pacinian corpuscle-like structures inside the digital tendon sheaths of fetuses of gestational ages 29 weeks (crown-rump length [CRL], 240 mm) (A, B), 30 weeks (CRL, 250 mm) (C and D, identical to the specimen in Fig. 1C, D) and 28 weeks (CRL, 230 mm) (E and F; identical to the specimen in Fig. 2). Panels (B), (D), and (F) are higher magnification views of squares in panels (A), (C), and (E), respectively. Loose tissue inside the palmar sheath of flexor tendons (tendon) contains corpusclelike structures (arrows in panels B, D, and F). art, artery; middle 2, 3, or 4 in a circle, middle phalangeal bone of the second, third or fourth finger; DAP, dorsal aponeurosis; DDN, dorsal digital nerve trunk; PDN, palmar digital nerve trunk. Transverse sections. Hematoxylin and eosin staining. Scale bars=1 mm (A, C, E), 0.1 mm (B, D, F).

  • Fig. 5 Pacinian corpuscle-like structures in fibrous tissue connected to the dorsal aponeurosis of a fetus of gestational age 28 weeks (crown-rump length, 230 mm; identical to the specimen in Figs. 2 and 4E, F). Panels (A–C) show the topographical anatomy, including a flexor tendon (tendon) in the middle phalangeal segment of the fourth finger (middle 4 in a circle). Panels (A) and (C) represent the most distal and proximal sites, respectively, in the figure. Intervals between panels were 1.0 mm (A–B) and 0.2 mm (B–C). The flexor tendon sheath is evident (A) but is interrupted by loose tissue (B, C). The palmar digital nerve trunk (PDN) is accompanied by usual Pacinian corpuscles (arrowheads in panels A–C). Panels (D), (E), and (F) are higher magnification views of squares in panel (A), (B), and (C), respectively. (B) The structures in circles are seen outside the square. The long axis in panel (D) corresponds to the left-right axis in panel (A) and shows usual corpuscles (arrows), one cut longitudinally. Multiple corpuscle-like structures (arrows in panels E and F), enclosed by a square and circles in panels (B) and (C), are embedded in fibrous tissue connected to the dorsal aponeurosis. art, artery; DDN, dorsal digital nerve trunk; DAP, dorsal aponeurosis. Transverse sections. Hematoxylin and eosin staining. Scale bars=1 mm (A–C), 0.1 mm (D–F).

  • Fig. 6 Pacinian corpuscle-like structures in a nail bed of fetuses of gestational ages 23 weeks (crown rump length [CRL], 175 mm; panels A–C, identical to the specimen in Fig. 3) and 29 weeks (CRL 240 mm; panels D and E, identical to the specimen in Fig. 4A, B). Panels (B) and (C) are higher magnification views of a square in panel (A), and panel (E) is a higher magnification view of a square in panel (D). Panel (A) shows the topographical anatomy including a nail bed. The palmar side of the distal phalangeal segment (distal 1 in a circle) contains multiple corpuscles (arrowheads; higher magnification in panel C). Panel (D) shows the dorsal half of the distal phalangeal segment (distal 2 in a circle). Panels (B) and (E) show higher magnification views of corpuscle-like structures (arrows) in the nail bed (nail). Transverse sections. Hematoxylin and eosin staining. Scale bars=1 mm (A, D), 0.1 mm (B, C, E).


Reference

1. Cauna N, Mannan G. Development and postnatal changes of digital Pacinian corpuscles (corpuscula lamellosa) in the human hand. J Anat. 1959; 93:271–286.
2. Kobayashi K, Cho KW, Yamamoto M, Mitomo K, Murakami G, Abe H, Abe S. Tree of Vater-Pacinian corpuscles in the human finger and thumb: a comparison between specimens from late-stage fetuses and elderly cadavers. Surg Radiol Anat. 2017; Forthcoming.
3. Hirasawa Y, Sakakida K, Tokioka T, Ohta Y. An investigation of the digital nerves of the thumb. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1985; (198):191–196.
4. Stark B, Carlstedt T, Hallin RG, Risling M. Distribution of human Pacinian corpuscles in the hand. A cadaver study. J Hand Surg Br. 1998; 23:370–372.
5. Bistevins R, Awad EA. Structure and ultrastructure of mechanoreceptors at the human musculotendinous junction. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1981; 62:74–83.
6. Zimny ML, DePaolo C, Dabezies E. Mechano-receptors in the flexor tendons of the hand. J Hand Surg Br. 1989; 14:229–231.
7. Babu KS, Devanandan MS. Sensory receptors situated in the interphalangeal joint capsule of the fingers of the bonnet monkey (Macaca radiata). Acta Anat (Basel). 1995; 153:49–56.
8. Saxod R. Ontogeny of the cutaneous sensory organs. Microsc Res Tech. 1996; 34:313–333.
9. Provitera V, Nolano M, Pagano A, Caporaso G, Stancanelli A, Santoro L. Myelinated nerve endings in human skin. Muscle Nerve. 2007; 35:767–775.
10. Williams PL. Gray's anatomy. 38th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone;1995. p. 1468. p. 1558.
11. Ho KL, Pak MS. Glomus tumor of the coccygeal region: case report. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1980; 62:141–142.
12. Bell RS, Goodman SB, Fornasier VL. Coccygeal glomus tumors: a case of mistaken identity? J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1982; 64:595–597.
13. Barbolini G, Tischendorf F, Curri SB. Histology, histochemistry, and function of the human digital arteriovenous anastomoses (Hoyer-Grosser's organs, Masson's glomera). I. The possible relationship with Pacinian corpuscles. Microvasc Res. 1971; 3:142–153.
14. Greider JL Jr, Flatt AE. Glomus tumor associated with pacinian hyperplasia: case report. J Hand Surg Am. 1982; 7:113–117.
15. Komforti M, Cummings TJ. An extraordinary association of glomus tumor and Pacinian hyperplasia in the hand of a female patient. Am J Dermatopathol. 2015; 37:719–720.
16. Jin ZW, Cho KH, Jang HS, Murakami G, Yamamoto M, Abe S. Coccygeal body revisited: an immunohistochemical study using donated elderly cadavers. Anat Rec. 2017; Forthcoming.
Full Text Links
  • ACB
Actions
Cited
CITED
export Copy
Close
Share
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2022 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr