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Mechanotransduction in the muscle spindle

Bewick, Guy S.; Banks, Robert W.

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Guy S. Bewick



The focus of this review is on the principal sensory ending of the mammalian muscle spindle, known as the primary ending. The process of mechanosensory transduction in the primary ending is examined under five headings: (i) action potential responses to defined mechanical stimuli—representing the ending's input–output properties; (ii) the receptor potential—including the currents giving rise to it; (iii) sensory-terminal deformation—measurable changes in the shape of the primary-ending terminals correlated with intrafusal sarcomere length, and what may cause them; (iv) putative stretch-sensitive channels—pharmacological and immunocytochemical clues to their identity; and (v) synaptic-like vesicles—the physiology and pharmacology of an intrinsic glutamatergic system in the primary and other mechanosensory endings, with some thoughts on the possible role of the system. Thus, the review highlights spindle stretch-evoked output is the product of multi-ionic receptor currents plus complex and sophisticated regulatory gain controls, both positive and negative in nature, as befits its status as the most complex sensory organ after the special senses.


Bewick, G. S., & Banks, R. W. (2015). Mechanotransduction in the muscle spindle. Pflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiology, 467(1), 175-190.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 12, 2014
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jan 2, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 9, 2015
Journal Pflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Print ISSN 0031-6768
Electronic ISSN 1432-2013
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 467
Issue 1
Pages 175-190
Keywords Muscle spindle, Mechanotransduction, DEG/ENaC, PLD-mGluR, Synaptic-like vesicle, Mechanosensation.


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Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2014. This article is published with open access at This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

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