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J Comp Neurol. 2005 Oct 3;490(4):371-90.

Effects of glossopharyngeal nerve section on the expression of neurotrophins and their receptors in lingual taste buds of adult mice.

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Rocky Mountain Taste and Smell Center, Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado 80045-6511, USA.


The expression of neurotrophins and neurotrophin receptors is essential for the proper establishment and function of many sensory systems. To determine which neurotrophins and neurotrophin receptors are expressed in taste buds, and in taste buds of mice following denervation, antibodies directed against the neurotrophins and their receptors were applied to adult mouse gustatory tissue. Immunohistochemistry reveals that nerve growth factor (NGF)-like immunoreactive (LIR), tyrosine kinase (trk) A-LIR, trkB-LIR, and p75-LIR elongated, differentiated taste cells are present within all lingual taste buds, whereas neither neurotrophin (NT)-3- nor trkC-LIR was detected in taste cells. Double-label immunohistochemistry using markers of different taste cell types in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)LacZ mice reveals that BDNF (beta-gal) and trkB colocalize, mainly in type III taste cells. NGF, pro-NGF, and trkA coexist in type II taste cells, i.e., those expressing phospholipase Cbeta2 (PLCbeta2). p75-LIR also is present in both BDNF and NGF taste cell populations. To determine the neural dependence of neurotrophin expression in adult taste buds, glossopharyngeal nerves were cut unilaterally. During the period of denervation (10 days to 3 weeks), taste buds largely disappear, and few neurotrophin-expressing cells are present. Three weeks after nerve transection, nerve fascicles on the operated side of the tongue exhibit BDNF-LIR, NGF-LIR, and ubiquitin carboxyl terminal hydrolase (PGP 9.5)-LIR. However, BDNF-LIR staining intensity but not NGF-LIR or PGP 9.5-LIR is increased in nerve fascicles on the operated compared with the unoperated side. Five weeks following nerve transection, NT and NT receptor expression resumes and appears normal in taste buds and nerves. These results indicate that neurotrophin expression in taste buds is dependent on gustatory innervation, but expression in nerves is not dependent on contact with taste buds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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