Merkels Cells

Merkel's cells are epidermal cells that function in cutaneous sensation

Merkel's cells are modified epidermal cells located in the stratum basale. They are most abundant in skin where sensory perception is acute, such as the fingertips. Merkel's cells are bound to adjoining keratinocytes by desmosomes and contain intermediate (keratin) fila ments in their cytoplasm. The nucleus is lobed, and the cytoplasm is somewhat denser than that of melanocytes and Langerhans' cells. They may contain some melanosomes in their cytoplasm, but they are best characterized by the presence of 80-nm dense-cored neurosecretory granules that resemble those found in the adrenal medulla and carotid body (Fig. 14.11). Merkel's cells are closely associated with the expanded terminal bulb of afferent myelinated nerve fibers. The neuron terminal loses its Schwann cell covering and immediately penetrates the basal lamina, where it expands into a disk or plate-like ending that lies in close apposition to the base of the Merkel's cell. The combination of the neuron and

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