Cutaneous Sensory System

  • Lawrence Kruger
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


The integumentary surfaces are derived from ectoderm and consist of a variety of general and specialized regions of stratified epithelium with a superficial keratinized layer of varying thickness. The sensory function of the skin and its appendages (e.g., hairs and claws, which serve as mechanical levers) is achieved by means of a wide diversity of sense organs specialized for several distinct sensory modalities. Mechanical sensibility appears to be dominant, and sensations of touch, pressure, vibration, tickle, itch, with perhaps a contribution from position and movement (kinesthetic) sense, can be correlated with the properties of a variety of sensitive mechanoreceptors. Thermal sensations are conveyed by distinct populations sensitive to either warming or cooling. In many regions, the most numerous innervation consists of the thinnest fibers subserving sensory reports of pain or related noxious and aversive qualities.


Sense Organ Axon Diameter Cutaneous Sensory System Dorsal Root Entry Zone Vibratory Sensibility 

Further reading

  1. Sinclair D (1981): Mechanisms of Cutaneous Sensation. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Willis WD, Coggeshall RE (1978): Sensory Mechanisms of the Spinal Cord. New York: Plenum PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Kruger

There are no affiliations available

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