Human skin sensory receptors

Sensory receptors in the dermis include the Meissner’s corpuscle, the Pacinian corpuscle, the Ruffini corpuscle, the hair root plexus, and a number of free nerve ending types.

Free nerve endings are thought to be integrated with a variety of sensations including pain, heat, cold, and touch.

Meissner’s corpuscles consist of a spiral of nerve endings within a swirling mass of special Schwann cells which do not form an organized myelinated covering. These corpuscles are touch receptors, they are usually located in the dermal papillae of hairless areas of skin surface.


Pacinian corpuscles consist of a nerve ending surrounded by an onion shaped assembly of schwann cell layers. These receptors are located in the deep dermis or hypodermis and are sensitive to pressure and vibration.

Ruffini corpuscles are highly branched nerve endings within a fluid filled capsule in the connective tissue. There are small swellings at the end of each branch of the nerve ending and the receptor is said to respond to displacement of connective tissue fibers that extend through the fluid filled bulb. These are thought to sense stress or distension in the deeper dermis.