Cutaneous Corpuscular Receptors of the Human Glans Clitoris: Descriptive Characteristics and Comparison with the Glans Penis

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The female genital sensory pathways that initiate sexual arousal reflexes begin with cutaneous corpuscular receptors in the glabrous genital skin, including those of the glans clitoris.


The aim of this study is to characterize the corpuscular receptors of the glans clitoris. In addition, we compared basic features with the receptors of the glans penis.

Main Outcome Measure

Number of stained receptors.


Five cadaveric vulvectomy specimens and four cadaveric penile specimens were used. They were serially sectioned and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Selected blocks were stained with Masson's trichrome, and immunohistochemical staining was done with neuronal markers S-100 and neurofilament.


Using the three stains, we identified an abundance of corpuscular receptors within the glans clitoris, as compared with the surrounding prepuce. These receptors were of varied arrangements, situated in the subepithelial tissues of the glans clitoris. They were indistinguishable from the receptors of the glans penis. The number of receptors per 100× high-powered field ranged from 1 to 14, whereas the receptor density in the glans penis ranged from 1 to 3. A second type of receptor, the Pacinian corpuscle, was identified within the suspensory ligament along the trunks of the dorsal nerve but not within the glans itself.


The glans clitoris is densely innervated with cutaneous corpuscular receptors, and these receptors are morphologically similar to the corpuscular receptors of the glans penis. The glans clitoris has greater variability in receptor density compared with the glans penis. Shih C, Cold CJ, and Yang CC. Cutaneous corpuscular receptors of the human glans clitoris: Descriptive characteristics and comparison with the glans penis. J Sex Med 2013;10:1783–1789.

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