Cutaneous biopsy is a complementary method, alternative to peripheral nerve biopsy, for the analysis of nerve involvement in peripheral neuropathies, systemic diseases, and several pathologies of the central nervous system. Most of these neuropathological studies were focused on the intraepithelial nerve fibers (thin-myelinated Aδ fibers and unmyelinated C fibers), and few studies investigated the variations in dermal innervation, that is, large myelinated fibers, Merkel’s cell-neurite complexes, and Meissner’s corpuscles. Here, we updated and summarized the current data about the quantitative and qualitative changes that undergo MCs and MkCs in peripheral neuropathies. Moreover, we provide a comprehensive rationale to include MCs in the study of cutaneous biopsies when analyzing the peripheral neuropathies and aim to provide a protocol to study them.
Part of the book: Demystifying Polyneuropathy
Sensory corpuscles of human skin are structures located at the peripheral end of the mechanoreceptive neurons and function as low-threshold mechanoreceptors (LTMRs). In its structure, in addition to the axon, there are glial cells, not myelinating, that are organized in different ways according to the morphotype of sensitive corpuscle, forming the so-called laminar cells of Meissner’s corpuscles, the laminar cells of the inner core of Pacinian corpuscles, or cells of the inner core in Ruffini’s corpuscles. Classically the glial cells of sensory corpuscles have been considered support cells and passive in the process of mechanotransduction. However, the presence of ion channels and synapses-like systems between them and the axon suggests that corpuscular glial cells are actively involved in the transformation of mechanical into electrical impulses. This chapter is an update on the origin, development, cytoarchitecture, and protein profile of glial cells of sensitive corpuscles especially those of human glabrous skin.
Part of the book: Somatosensory and Motor Research