Immunocytochemical localization of serotonin and serotonin transporter (SET) in taste buds of rat

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1999 Dec 10;74(1-2):221-4. doi: 10.1016/s0169-328x(99)00253-3.


We used an immunocytochemical approach to study the localization of serotonin and its termination system, serotonin transporter (SET), in the taste buds of rats using specific antibodies against serotonin and SET. Under confocal laser scanning microscopy, both serotonin and SET immunoreactivity were detected in the taste buds of rat vallate papillae. Serotonin immunoreactivity was seen in the spindle-shaped cells with apical processes that seemed to be light (Type II) taste cells. SET-immunoreactivity was mainly localized in the periphery or interfaces between the taste cells. Double staining studies revealed that all serotonin-containing taste cells were immunoreactive for SET, while a subclass of SET-positive cells showed serotonin immunoreactivity. These data support the hypothesis that serotonin plays a transmitter role in taste receptor cells and suggest that the serotonin-induced sensation of taste is terminated by serotonin uptake through serotonin transporter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / analysis*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / analysis*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Rats
  • Serotonin / analysis*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Taste Buds / chemistry*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Slc6a4 protein, rat
  • Serotonin