Uptake of 5-hydroxytryptophan by Gustatory Cells in the Mouse Taste Bud

Arch Histol Jpn. 1977 Jun;40(3):243-50. doi: 10.1679/aohc1950.40.243.


Monoamines in the taste bud cells of the mouse circumvallate papilla were studied by fluorescence histochemistry and electron microscopy. With administration of 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) after a pretreatment with nialamide, yellow fluorescence appeared in some of the taste bud cells, while no fluorescence was observed in untreated, L-DOPA treated on serotonin treated mice. Electron microscopic study after treatment with both nialamide and 5-HTP showed small dense-cored vesicles intermingled with small clear vesicles (30-60 nm in diameter accumulated at the membranes of the gustatory cells in typical afferent synaptic contacts with nerve terminals. Definite ultrastructural change in large dense-cored vesicles (70-100 nm in diameter) could not be observed. It is suggested that the gustatory cells of the mouse take up 5-HTP and convert it to serotonin. The synaptic vesicles in the gustatory cells are believed capable of storing and releasing serotonin which presumably acts as the neurotransmitter involved in the impulse transmission from the gustatory cells to the sensory nerve fibers.

MeSH terms

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Taste Buds / metabolism
  • Taste Buds / ultrastructure*


  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan