Neuronal stretch reception - Making sense of the mechanosense

Exp Cell Res. 2019 May 1;378(1):104-112. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2019.01.028. Epub 2019 Feb 25.


The sensation of mechanical force underlies many of our daily activities. As the sense of touch determines the quality of life, the subconscious sense of proprioception and visceral mechanosensation is indispensible for survival. Many internal organs change shape, either as an active part of their physiology or passively due to body movements. Importantly, these shape changes need to be sensed and balanced properly to prevent organ failure and dysfunction. Consequently, a failure to properly sense volume changes of internal organs has a huge clinical relevance, manifested by a plethora of congenital and age-related diseases. Here we review novel data on mammalian stretch reception as well as classical studies from insect and nematode proprioceptors with the aim to highlight the missing link between organ-level deformation and mechanosensing on the molecular level.

Keywords: Barosensation; Behavior; Cell mechanics; Force from filament; Force from lipid; Mechanobiology; Mechanosensation; Mechanosensitive ion channel; Proprioception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Baroreflex
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors / metabolism
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Proprioception