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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Scientists Identify Nerve Cells Sensitive To Vibration In Clitoris, Penis

A new study among mice shows that nerve cells, specifically Krause corpuscles, are specialized to respond to vibration and light touch, and are key to normal sexual behavior, Dr. Alakananda Dasgupta reported for Live Science.

Photo Insert: Krause corpuscles, first described by German anatomist Wilhelm Krause in 1860, are specialized sensory receptors in the skin and mucous membranes, such as those in the genitalia, lips, tongue and conjunctiva of the eye.



"Our study is the beginning of answering the 160-year-old question about the…function of Krause corpuscles of the genitalia," study lead author Lijun Qi, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Medical School, told Live Science in an email.


Krause corpuscles, first described by German anatomist Wilhelm Krause in 1860, are specialized sensory receptors in the skin and mucous membranes, such as those in the genitalia, lips, tongue and conjunctiva of the eye.



In the penis and clitoris, they are ovoid or cylindrical in shape and contain coiled nerves or simple nerve endings. Although scientists have mapped the structure of these sensors, their precise function has remained a mystery, with some scientists believing they sense cold temperatures.


Doctoral candidate Lijun Qi and his colleagues measured the number of female and male Krause corpuscles, also known as Krause end bulbs, across the genital tissue among mice.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

The number of clitoral and penile Krause corpuscles was similar, with a 15-fold higher density of corpuscles in the clitoris than in the penis. The neurons found in mice were structurally similar to those of humans. The human clitoris has more than 10,000 nerve endings.


The study showed that these cells are rapidly adapting, sensitive sensors that fire in response to even weak stimulation.


Science & technology: Scientist using a microscope in laboratory in the financial district.

They found that, among mice, two distinct types of fast-conducting sensory neurons supplying the Krause corpuscles in the clitoris or penis fired in response to light touch by brushing and to mechanical vibrations at 40 to 80 Hertz.


The team is testing the temperature sensitivity of the other type of Krause corpuscle neuron. These sensory neurons feed into a region of the spinal cord that lies close to the spinal ejaculation center.





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