Myelinated nerve endings in human skin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We used immunohistochemical techniques and confocal microscopy to study the morphometry of myelinated nerve endings in glabrous and hairy skin. A total of 30 healthy volunteers took part in this study designed to assess the possibility of obtaining reliable information on myelinated fibers using samples of hairy skin and to determine whether differences exist between myelinated terminations from different sites. We obtained consistent information on cutaneous myelinated terminations using hairy as well as glabrous skin samples. Myelinated endings from hairy and glabrous skin differ in density and distribution. However, from a comparison of our findings with data from nerve biopsy studies, we conclude that all cutaneous myelinated terminations are thinner terminal branches of large myelinated Aβ fibers, whereas cutaneous terminations of small myelinated Aδ fibers lose their myelin before entering the dermis and become indistinguishable from C-fiber terminations. The classic criteria, based on fiber size, used to distinguish myelinated fiber subgroups in sensory nerves are therefore not suitable for identifying myelinated terminations in the skin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-775
Number of pages9
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Aβ fibers
  • Aδ fibers
  • Morphometry
  • Myelinated fibers
  • Skin biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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