Innervation of single fungiform taste buds during development in rat

J Comp Neurol. 1998 Aug 17;398(1):13-24.

Abstract

To determine whether the innervation of taste buds changes during postnatal development, the number of geniculate ganglion cells that innervated single fungiform taste buds were quantified in the tip- and midregions of the tongue of adult and developing rats. There was substantial variation in both the size of individual taste buds and number of geniculate ganglion cells that innervated them. Importantly, taste bud morphology and innervation were highly related. Namely, the number of labeled geniculate ganglion cells that innervated a taste bud was highly correlated with the size of the taste bud (r = 0.91, P < .0003): The larger the taste bud, the more geniculate ganglion cells that innervated it. The relationship between ganglion cell number and taste bud volume emerged during the first 40 days postnatal. Whereas there was no difference in the average number of ganglion cells that innervated individual taste buds in rats aged 10 days postnatal through adulthood, taste bud volumes increased progressively between 10 and 40 days postnatal, at which age taste bud volumes were similar to adults. The maturation of taste bud size was accompanied by the emergence of the relationship between taste bud volume and number of innervating neurons. Specifically, there was no correlation between taste bud size and number of innervating geniculate ganglion cells in 10-, 20-, or 30-day-old rats, whereas taste bud size and the number of innervating ganglion cells in 40-day-old rats were positively correlated (r = .80, P < .002). Therefore, the relationship between taste bud size and number of innervating ganglion cells develops over a prolonged postnatal period and is established when taste buds grow to their adult size.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Geniculate Ganglion / cytology
  • Geniculate Ganglion / growth & development*
  • Geniculate Ganglion / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Rats / physiology*
  • Stilbamidines*
  • Taste / physiology
  • Taste Buds / cytology
  • Taste Buds / growth & development*
  • Taste Buds / physiology*

Substances

  • 2-hydroxy-4,4'-diamidinostilbene, methanesulfonate salt
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Stilbamidines