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Laryngorhinootologie. 2003 Jul;82(7):501-7.

[Contact endoscopic quantification of fungiform papillae--correlation to taste ability?].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Klinik und Poliklinik für Hals-Nasen-Ohrenheilkunde, Kopf- und Halschirurgie Otto Körner der Universität Rostock. tino.just@med.uni-rostock.de



Besides anamnestic data and taste test, the clarification of epithelial taste disorders makes macroscopic evaluation of the surface of the tongue necessary.


In this article the contact endoscopy is evaluated for examination of the tongue epithelium and for quantification of the fungiforme papillae. These results are related to the results of the spatial taste test (1. chemical taste test with sodium chloride in 2 different suprathreshold concentrations and sucrose in also 2 different suprathreshold concentrations; 2. electrogustometry with a bipolar electrode).


In a prospective study we performed contact endoscopy in 16 healthy volunteers from ages 7 to 68 years. The subjects were divided into 2 age groups (< or = 45 years and > 45 years) and 2 papillae density groups. In 34 patients with either taste disorders of unknown cause or in patients with macroscopic changes at the tongue surface, the spatial and whole mouth taste tests and contact endoscopy were used to clarify the cause of the complaints.


Density and shape of the fungiform papillae as well as the shape of the subepithelial vessels of the papillae vary among the investigated human subjects in the different age groups. No correlation between intensity ratings, papillae density und age was found after stimulation with 40 % sucrose at the tongue tip in the younger age group. Stimulation of the tongue edge with 15 % sodium chloride, however, showed a relationship between the two different density groups and the different age groups.


The contact endoscopy allows the evaluation of the epithelium in the oral cavity. It is a nondestructive method and is additionally easy to handle, but the evaluation of the observed epithelia needs interdisciplinary co-operation with pathologists. No relevant informations are supplied in diagnostics of taste disorders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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