Micropipette aspiration of the Pacinian corpuscle

Julia C. Quindlen, Ellen T. Bloom, Laura E. Ortega, Amy Moeller, Victor H Barocas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - Oct 3 2017


  • Biomechanics
  • Haptics
  • Neuroscience
  • Touch

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