ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to determine the reason isolated single Merkel cells do not respond to mechanical stimulation by fluorescent or histological techniques. Cells identified as Merkel cells by quinacrine fluorescence and measurement of intracellular calcium concentration were observed by transmission electron and scanning electron microscopy. Observations elucidated that the cylindrical cytoplasmic processes of single Merkel cells disappeared with time shortly after isolation. Transmission electron microscopy revealed the presence of numerous dense-cored granules, which may function as sensory receptors in the cytoplasm of the isolated single Merkel cell. Disappearance of the cylindrical cytoplasmic processes impeded reception of mechanical stimulation. The results suggest that an isolated single Merkel cell continues to function as a sensory receptor cell due to the presence of numerous dense-cored granules. Furthermore, the results show that an isolated single Merkel cell is not an appropriate specimen for investigation of mechanically-gated channels.
The Bulletin of Tokyo Dental College 01/2011; 52(2):69-76.