Sensory nerve findings by tactile stimulation of median and ulnar nerves in healthy subjects of different ages

G. Caruso, J. Nilsson, C. Crisci, M. Nolano, R. Massini, F. Lullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied orthodromic sensory conduction velocity along the distal and proximal segments of the median and ulnar nerves by tactile stimulation of the distal phalanx of the 3rd and 5th digits in 44 healthy subjects divided into 2 age groups: from 16 to 35 years and from 63 to 81 years. In the same nerves, we used selective electrical stimulation of the corresponding digital nerves to obtain sensory potentials. In both groups, responses to tactile stimuli had a longer latency and smaller amplitude than those to electrical stimulation, and they were distributed in a series of 6-7 main deflections, apparently regardless of whether the recording site was distal or proximal. Moreover, irrespective of the nerve and of subject age, conduction velocity along both the digit-wrist and the wrist-elbow nerve segments was significantly slower with tactile stimuli within than with electrical stimuli. However, independently of the stimulus used, conduction velocity along the proximal nerve segment was significantly faster than that measured along the digit-wrist nerve segment. In both the median and ulnar nerves, maximum potential amplitude, cumulative area and conduction velocity were significantly reduced in the older age group. This finding could reflect the smaller number of Meissner's corpuscles in older subjects, and the loss of large nerve fibres in individuals over 60.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-398
Number of pages7
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology - Evoked Potentials
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Meissner's corpuscle concentration
  • Peripheral nerve conduction
  • Tactile stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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