Neural anatomy of the human anterior cruciate ligament.

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The histology of the anterior cruciate ligament was studied by a modified technique of the Gairns gold chloride stain for neural elements. Three morphological types of mechanoreceptors and free nerve-endings were identified: two of the slow-adapting Ruffini type and the third, a rapidly adapting Pacinian corpuscle. Rapidly adapting receptors signal motion and slow-adapting receptors subserve speed and acceleration. Free nerve-endings, which are responsible for pain, were also identified within the ligament. These neural elements comprise 1 per cent of the area of the anterior cruciate ligament.

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