Ultrastructure of mouse vallate taste buds: II. Cell types and cell lineage

Rona J. Delay, Stephen D. Roper, John C. Kinnamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


The lifespan of cells in the mouse taste bud was examined with high‐voltage electron microscopic (HVEM) autoradiography (ARG) after giving a single injection of 3H‐thymidine. Animals were killed at 1 hour, 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, and then daily up through 10 days postinjection. Lingual tissues were prepared for HVEM ARG so that we could identify and characterize labeled cells. Four categories of taste cells were identified: basal, dark, intermediate, and light cells. Basal cells were polygonal cells located near the basolateral sides of the taste buds and were characterized primarily by the presence of filaments attached to the nuclear envelope. Dark and light cells had the typical features described by previous authors. Intermediate cells had features in between those of dark and light cells. Over 90% of the cells labeled in the first 2 days following injection of 3H‐thymidine were basal cells. Labeled dark cells appeared 6 hours after injection, reached their peak incidence at the fourth day postinjection, and then gradually decreased. Labeled intermediate cells were identified after the appearance of dark cells (12 hours) and reached a peak incidence at the fifth day after injection of 3H‐thymidine. Lastly, labeled light cells were first observed on the fourth day postinjection and continued to increase until the tenth day, when they constituted 45% of the labeled cells. These data support the hypothesis that there is one cell line in the mouse vallate taste bud that undergoes morphological changes in its lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-252
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 8 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • autoradiography
  • cell turnover
  • circumvallate papilla
  • gustation
  • high‐voltage electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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