Scientific Earth Conscientious

Scientific progress makes moral progress a necessity; for if man's power is increased, the checks that restrain him from abusing it must be strengthened (Madame de Stael)

Posts Tagged ‘Scientists at the Monell Center have identified the location and certain genetic characteristics of taste stem cells on the tongue. Identification of progenitors may someday help treat clinical taste’

Scientists at the Monell Center have identified the location and certain genetic characteristics of taste stem cells on the tongue. Identification of progenitors may someday help treat clinical taste dysfunction

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on February 4, 2013

Scanning electron microscopy image illustrates the dorsal view of an E15.5 embryonic tongue and papilla types. Black arrowheads point to fungiform papillae on the anterior oral tongue; black arrow points to the single circumvallate papilla in the back. White arrowhead at the tip points to the median furrow. The straight line marks the orientation for sectioning in the sagittal plane. B: H and E stained sagittal section of an E15.5 tongue to illustrate the orientation for all images of tongue sections. Black arrowheads point to fungiform papillae. Scale bars: 250 μm.

Scanning electron microscopy image illustrates the dorsal view of an E15.5 embryonic tongue and papilla types. Black arrowheads point to fungiform papillae on the anterior oral tongue; black arrow points to the single circumvallate papilla in the back. White arrowhead at the tip points to the median furrow. The straight line marks the orientation for sectioning in the sagittal plane. B: H and E stained sagittal section of an E15.5 tongue to illustrate the orientation for all images of tongue sections. Black arrowheads point to fungiform papillae. Scale bars: 250 μm.

Scientists at the Monell Center have identified the location and certain genetic characteristics of taste stem cells on the tongue. The findings will facilitate techniques to grow and manipulate new functional taste cells for both clinical and research purposes.

“Cancer patients who have taste loss following radiation to the head and neck and elderly individuals with diminished taste function are just two populations who could benefit from the ability to activate adult taste stem cells,” said Robert Margolskee, M.D., Ph.D., a molecular neurobiologist at Monell who is one of the study’s authors.

Taste cells are located in clusters called taste buds, which in turn are found in papillae, the raised bumps visible on the tongue’s surface.

Two types of taste cells contain chemical receptors that initiate perception of sweet, bitter, umami, salty, and sour taste qualities. A third type appears to serve as a supporting cell.

A remarkable characteristic of these sensory cells is that they regularly regenerate. All three taste cell types undergo frequent turnover, with an average lifespan of 10-16 days. As such, new taste cells must constantly be regenerated to replace cells that have died.

For decades, taste scientists have attempted to identify the stem or progenitor cells that spawn the different taste receptor cells. The elusive challenge also sought to establish whether one or several progenitors are involved and where they are located, whether in or near the taste bud.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | 1 Comment »