Microscopic anatomy of sensory receptors

Nicholas Wade (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
318 Downloads (Pure)


Experiences following stimulation of the senses have been recorded for millennia, and they could be related to the gross anatomy of the sense organs. Examination of their microanatomy was to await the development of achromatic microscopes in the early nineteenth century. Among the microscopic structures that were isolated and described were specialized sensory cells, called receptors, and they could be related to the stimuli that excited them. Those located in well-defined sense organs (like the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue) were named on the basis of their morphology, whereas the receptors in or beneath the surface of the skin were generally named after those who first described them. Illustrations of early representations of sensory receptors are combined with "perceptual portraits" of the microanatomists who described them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-306
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the History of the Neurosciences
Issue number3
Early online date11 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2019


  • Senses
  • histologists
  • microanatomy
  • microscopes
  • perceptual portraits
  • receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Microscopic anatomy of sensory receptors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this