somatotopic organization

M.J. Stillman stillman at
Mon Dec 9 12:23:32 EST 1996

Albertino Bigiani wrote:
> Hi!
> I'd like to know if somatotopic organization applies only to skin
> mechanoreceptors or to skin thermorecetpors and nociceptors as well.
> Can anybody help me on this?

Hi, from a neuroscientist/medical writer.  This is not my main area, but
I've thought that the somatotopic organization was true for the
postcentral gyrus and sensory receptors in general, analogous to the
____topic representations in the primary motor cortex, visual areas,
etc.  I never heard of the somatotopic organization being broken down
into the various sensory receptors, but it certainly may be true. 
Perhaps someone with more expertise could elucidate?  I'd appreciate a
reference for the next time I teach A&P, as I try to keep the course
relatively current.

Incidentally, who was/were responsible for leaving us with the term
"receptor" to refer to both a binding site (eg, an ACh receptor) and a
sensory structure (eg, a rod or cone)?  One of my more minor pet peeves
with neuroscience  :-)

Michael J. Stillman, Ph.D.
DendWrite Communications
33 Dinsmore Avenue, Suite 602
Framingham, MA  01702
Tel/Fax: 508.875.7782

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