Objectives: To analyze the immunohistochemical profile of the human pancreatic pacinian corpuscles in comparison with that of the cutaneous pacinian corpuscles. In addition, we studied a Pacinilike corpuscle found in the adventitia of a pancreatic artery.
Methods: We used immunohistochemistry to detect specific antigens for corpuscular constituents, specific antibodies for the identification of Adelta- and C-sensory fibers and for the detection of several growth factor receptors, and some members of the degenerin/epithelial Na channel superfamily of proteins.
Results: Approximately 62% of pancreatic pacinian corpuscles have 2 to 10 axonic profiles each enclosed by its own inner core: 1 or 2 of these axonic profiles displayed RT-97 immunoreactivity (specific marker of mechanical axons). The cutaneous pacinian corpuscles showed not more than 2 axonic profiles with identical immunohistochemical characteristics. The expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein, epithelial membrane antigen, and tyrosine receptor kinase B was different between pancreatic and cutaneous pacinian corpuscles; the pattern of distribution of degenerin/epithelial Na channel proteins was identical in both cases. The arterial Pacinilike corpuscles displayed a specific immunohistochemical profile.
Conclusions: Pancreatic pacinian corpuscles slightly differ from the cutaneous ones, and these differences could be related to topography, growth factor requirements, or function of pacinian corpuscles in the pancreas.