Technique to collect fungiform (Taste) papillae from human tongue

Andrew I. Spielman, M. Yanina Pepino, Roy Feldman, Joseph G. Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The sense of taste is critical for human life. It informs the body about the quality of food that will be potentially ingested and stimulates metabolic processes that prepare the alimentary canal for digestion. Steady progress is being made towards understanding the early biochemical and molecular events underlying taste transduction (for a review, Breslin and Spector, 2008). However, progress to date has largely resulted from animal models. Yet, since marked differences in receptor specificity and receptor density vary among species, human taste transduction will only be understood by using human taste tissue. Here we describe a biopsy technique to collect human fungiform papillae, visible as rounded pink anterior structures, about 0.5 mm in diameter that contain taste buds. These biopsied papillae are used for several purposes including the isolation of viable taste bud cells, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and, through techniques of molecular biology, the identification of taste-specific novel proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2201
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number42
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Biopsy
  • Fungiform papillae
  • Human
  • Issue 42
  • JoVE Medicine
  • Taste cells
  • Tongue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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