Are there efferent synapses in fish taste buds?

J Neurocytol. 2004 Dec;33(6):647-56. doi: 10.1007/s11068-005-3333-z. Epub 2005 Oct 11.


In fish, nerve fibers of taste buds are organized within the bud's nerve fiber plexus. It is located between the sensory epithelium consisting of light and dark elongated cells and the basal cells. It comprises the basal parts and processes of light and dark cells that intermingle with nerve fibers, which are the dendritic endings of the taste sensory neurons belonging to the cranial nerves VII, IX or X. Most of the synapses at the plexus are afferent; they have synaptic vesicles on the light (or dark) cells side, which is presynaptic. In contrast, the presumed efferent synapses may be rich in synaptic vesicles on the nerve fibers (presynaptic) side, whereas the cells (postsynaptic) side may contain a subsynaptic cistern; a flat compartment of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum. This structure is regarded as a prerequisite of a typical efferent synapse, as occurring in cochlear and vestibular hair cells. In fish taste buds, efferent synapses are rare and were found only in a few species that belong to different taxa. The significance of efferent synapses in fish taste buds is not well understood, because efferent connections between the gustatory nuclei of the medulla with taste buds are not yet proved.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catfishes
  • Cyprinidae
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Efferent Pathways / ultrastructure*
  • Elasmobranchii
  • Fishes / anatomy & histology*
  • Fishes / physiology
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Phylogeny
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Species Specificity
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*
  • Synaptic Membranes / physiology
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Synaptic Vesicles / physiology
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds / physiology
  • Taste Buds / ultrastructure*