High resolution scanning electron micrographic study of dissociated mouse taste cells

Andrew I. Spielman, Deborah A. Ricketts-foot, Joseph G. Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New techniques for enzymatic dissociation of mammalian taste cells allowed us to study, for the first time, the morphology of murine taste receptor cells using high resolution scanning electron microscopy. Cell shape varied from spindle to bipolar to lamellar, similar to shapes previously described in cells from amphibian taste buds. Cell length varied from 19 to 65 μm (39 ± 19 μm), with width averaging 6 ± 3.4 μm. A rare picture of the apical microvilli of a taste receptor cell, and a view of microvilli within a taste pore, suggest that at any given time, five to eight taste cells may be exposed to the oral cavity. Assuming a cell life-span of 10 days, and 50 cells per bud, all of which eventually reach the taste pore, one can calculate that the average cell is exposed to the oral environment for ∼4-5 h. After this time, these cells may fuse into the surrounding epithelium and slough off into the oral cavity where secretions of the major or von Ebner's salivary glands remove them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-460
Number of pages10
JournalChemical senses
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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