Sensory nerve supply in the human subacromial bursa

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 1996 Sep-Oct;5(5):371-82. doi: 10.1016/s1058-2746(96)80069-3.


The subacromial bursa is the major component of the subacromial gliding mechanism. The neural elements of the subacromial bursa obtained from specimens that underwent autopsy and surgery were investigated by the silver impregnation and immunohistochemical methods with antisera to substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide; which are considered to be involved in nociceptive transmission, and protein gene product 9.5. Free nerve endings, Ruffini endings, Pacinian corpuscles, and two kinds of unclassified nerve endings were observed. Most of these receptors were observed of the roof side of the coracoacromial arch, which is exposed to stress because of the impingement. A delta and C fibers, thought to be nerve fibers of free nerve endings, were immunoreactive to substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide. On the other hand, thick fibers thought to originate in encapsulated mechanoreceptors were not immunoreactive to substance P. The subacromial bursa receives nociceptive stimuli and proprioception and seems to regulate appropriate shoulder movement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bursa, Synovial / innervation*
  • Bursa, Synovial / metabolism
  • Bursa, Synovial / pathology
  • Cadaver
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / anatomy & histology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Pacinian Corpuscles / anatomy & histology
  • Shoulder Joint / innervation*
  • Shoulder Joint / metabolism
  • Shoulder Joint / pathology
  • Silver Staining
  • Substance P / metabolism
  • Thiolester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Substance P
  • Thiolester Hydrolases
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide