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13.1: Gustation (Taste)

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    Gustation is the special sense associated with the tongue. The surface of the tongue, along with the rest of the oral cavity, is lined by a stratified squamous epithelium. Raised bumps called papillae (singular = papilla) contain the structures for gustatory transduction. There are four types of papillae, based on their appearance (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)): circumvallate, foliate, filiform, and fungiform. Within the structure of the papillae are taste buds that contain specialized gustatory receptor cells for the transduction of taste stimuli. These receptor cells are sensitive to the chemicals contained within foods that are ingested, and they release neurotransmitters based on the amount of the chemical in the food.

     

     

    The left panel shows the image of a tongue with callouts that show magnified views of different parts of the tongue. The top right panel shows a micrograph of the circumvallate papilla, and the bottom right panel shows the structure of a taste bud.Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): The Tongue The tongue is covered with small bumps, called papillae, which contain taste buds that are sensitive to chemicals in ingested food or drink. Different types of papillae are found in different regions of the tongue. The taste buds contain specialized gustatory receptor cells that respond to chemical stimuli dissolved in the saliva. These receptor cells activate sensory neurons that are part of the facial and glossopharyngeal nerves. LM × 1600. (Micrograph provided by the Regents of University of Michigan Medical School © 2012) (CC-BY-4.0, OpenStax, Human Anatomy)

     


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