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Merkel's cells

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Touch cells – large oval cells found in the skin and some parts of the mucosa of all vertebrates. They are responsible for the highly malignant skin tumor known as Merkel's cell carcinoma. Most often they are associated with sensory nerve endings, when they are known as Merkel's nerve nedings. They were given the eponymic name Merkel cells in 1878 by Robert Bonnet (1851–1921).

The mammalian Merkel cell is in the epidermis of vertebrates, while Grandry's corpuscles occur only in waterfowl and are located in the dermis of the bill.


  • M. Grandry:
    Recherches sur les corpuscles de Pasini.
    Journal de l'anatomie et de la physiologie normales et pathologiques de l'homme et des animaux, Paris, 1869, 6: 390-395.
  • F. S. Merkel:
    Tastzellen und Tastkörperchen bei den Hausthieren und beim Menschen.
    Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie, 1875, 11: 636-652.
  • Zdenek Halata, Milos Grim, Klaus I. Baumann:
    Friedrich Sigmund Merkel and his "Merkel cell", morphology, development, and physiology: review and new results.
    The Anatomical Record. Part A, Discoveries in molecular, cellular, and evolutionary biology, Hoboken, NJ. March 2003, 271 (1): 225-239.

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