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Number and distribution of taste buds on the epiglottis pharynx larynx soft palate and uvula in a human newborn.

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Number and Distribution of Taste Buds on the
Epiglottis, Pharynx, Larynx, Soft Palate
and Uvula in a Human Newborn'
Department of Anatomy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The description of taste buds usually cut at 10 p and stained with Delafield's
indicates their presence on the dorsum of hematoxylin and eosin.
the tongue and relatively little is said conOBSERVATIONS
cerning their appearance in other locations.
A total of 2583 taste buds were seen
The works of Lov6n (1868), Verson upon microscopic examination of the epi(1868), Krause (1870), Hoffman (1875), thelium on the oral surface and free edge
Heymann (1889), Kanthack (1889 and of the soft palate, the oral and nasal sur1890a and b), Kiesow ('O2), Ponzo ('07a faces of the uvula, the epiglottic vallecuand b), Grossmann ('21) and Patzelt ('21 lae, the anterior and posterior surfaces of
and '23) provide us with most of the in- the epiglottis, the larynx and the oral and
formation available about the location of laryngeal pharynx. Each taste bud was
taste buds in areas exclusive of the tongue plotted as to its location and care was
in the human. However, these papers do taken that none was counted more than
not provide accurate data concerning the once.
number and distribution of these taste
On the soft palate, 419 taste buds were
buds. Therefore, it was felt that a more counted (fig. 1 ) . Of this total, 254 were
accurate and detailed analysis should be seen in the stratified squamous epithelium
made of the soft palate, uvula, epiglottis, on the oral surface with the remaining 165
larynx, oral and laryngeal pharynx.
located on the posterior free edge, lateral
The newborn was selected for study be- to the uvula. Most of the 165 taste buds
cause relatively little research has been seen on the free edge of the soft palate
done at this age of the life span, although were located in stratified squamous epiHeiderich ('06) and Arey, Tremaine and thelium but approximately 20% of them
Monzingo ('35) report a decrease in the were seen in pseudostratified ciliated conumber of taste buds after birth. It was lumnar epithelium near the nasal surface
felt that reporting the number and distri- (fig. 2). Although the nasal surface of
bution of taste buds in this single speci- the soft palate was not included in this
men was justified by the fact that similar study, a few taste buds were observed
information has not been previously avail- there in peudostratified ciliated columnar
No taste buds were found on the surThe tissues used in this study were ob- face of the uvula.
Forty-eight taste buds were found in
tained from a male negro who died 18
hours after birth. The epiglottis, larynx and the epiglottic valleculae; 21 in the right
oral and laryngeal pharynx were excised and 27 in the left. Three other taste buds
as one block and the soft palate and uvula were present in the glossoepiglottic fold
as another block. These two bIocks were near its attachment to the dorsum of the
fixed in Heidenhain's "Susa" fixative, tongue.
washed and dehydrated in alcohol before
'This paper represents a portion of a thesis
doubly imbedding in pyroxylin and paraf- presented by E.R.L. for a M.Sc. degree at The
fin. A total of 2590 serial sections were Ohio State University.
... 0.12... .
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Fig. 1 Plot of 419 taste buds on the oral surface and free edge of the soft palate. Each
dot represents one taste bud.
Fig. 2 Taste bud in pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium from the nasal surface
of the soft palate. Delafield's hematoxylin and eosin. x 860.
The epiglottis contained a total of 949 the mid-dorsal line, 135 in the right lateral
taste buds. Three were seen at the very wall and 100 in the left lateral wall.
tip of the anterior surface; the remaining
In the laryngeal pharynx, 656 taste
946 were scattered on its posterior surface buds were counted; 26 scattered along the
(fig. 3). About 10% of these taste buds length of the posterior wall, 10 in the right
were found in pseudostratified ciliated lateral wall and 7 in the left lateral wall.
columnar epithelium in the area corre- All of these taste buds were located quite
sponding to the upper portion of the ary- high up in the laryngeal pharynx, above
epiglottic folds.
the level of the interarytenoid notch. In
In the oral pharynx, 267 taste buds were the anterior wall, 613 taste buds were obpresent with 32 in the posterior wall along served as a narrow midline patch extend-
Fig. 3 Plot of 946 taste buds on the posterior surface of the epiglottis and 27 taste buds in
the anterior wall of the vestibule of the larynx. The horizontal line between the pharyngoepiglottic folds separates the posterior surface of the epiglottis from the anterior wall of
the vestibule of the larynx. Each dot represents one taste bud.
ing from the interarytenoid notch down to could be obtained from studies on the
number and distribution of taste buds
the level of the cricoid cartilage.
A total of 241 taste buds were counted throughout the life span in areas such as
in the triangular shaped vestibule of the those reported in this paper.
larynx. The anterior wall, here considered
to be a continuation of the posterior suface
Microscopic examination of serial secof the epiglottis below the level of the
pharyngoepiglottic folds down to the rima tions revealed the presence of 2583 taste
glottidis, contained 27 taste buds (fig. 3). buds on areas exclusive of the tongue in
The lips of the inlet of the larynx just the human newborn. The areas studied
medial to the cuneiform, corniculate, and included the soft palate, uvula, epiglottic
arytenoid cartilages contained 213 taste valleculae, epiglottis, larynx and the oral
buds with 110 on the left side and 103 and the laryngeal pharynx.
Many taste buds were seen in pseudoon the right side. One other taste bud was
seen in the vestibule of the larynx on the stratified ciliated columnar epithelium on
left ventricular fold. There were no taste the free edge and nasal surface of the soft
buds present in the ventricular recesses palate as well as the posterior surface of
the epiglottis.
or the laryngeal cavity.
Patzelt (’23) found taste buds on the
posterior surface of the epiglottis in small
areas of stratified squamous epithelium
which were surrounded by ciliated epithelium in adult human tissues. It appears,
however, that ours is the first report of
taste buds in pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium as well as stratified
squamous epithelium on the soft palate
and the epiglottis in the newborn.
Taste buds were often found to be
grouped quite close together. This clustering effect might be attributed to the innervation of the taste buds and the formative influence that nerves have on taste
bud development. (Torrey, ’34; Arey and
Monzingo, ’42 )
If we use the quantitative data of
Heiderich, of 251 taste buds per circumvallate papilla between the ages of 0-11
months, then we estimate that between
2500-3000 taste buds might be found on
the circumvallate papillae of the tongue
in this age period. The 2583 taste buds
reported here, in areas exclusive of the
tongue therefore, represent a significant
portion of the total number of taste buds
that could be expected in a human newborn.
Arey, Tremaine and Monzingo (’35) report a decrease in the number of taste buds
on the circumvallate papilla of the tongue
with an increase in age. This was especially true of old age. Their data suggest
that some very interesting information
Arey, L. B., and F. L. Monzingo 1942 Can
hvaoelossal nerve fibers induce formation of
taste-buds? Quart., Bull. Northw. Univ. Med.
Sch., 16: 170-178.
Arey, L. B., M. J. Tremaine and F. L. Monzingo
1935 The numerical and topographical relations of taste buds to human circumvallate
papillae throughout the life span. Anat. Rec.,
64: 9-25.
Grossmann, B. 1921 Uber das Vorkommen von
Geschmacksknospen a n der Vorderwand der
Pars laryngea pharyngis beim Menschen.
Mschr., Ohrenheilk., 55: 1174-1186.
Heiderich, F. 1906 bber das Vorkommen von
Flimmerepithel a n menschlichen Papillae vallatae. Anat. Anz., 28: 315-316.
Heymann, R. 1889 Beitrag zur Kenntnis des
Epithels und der Driisen des menschlichen
Kehlkopfes im gesunden und im kranken
Zustande. Virchow’s Arch. Path. Anat., 118:
Hoffman, A. 1875 Uber die Verbreitung der
Geschmacksknospen beim Menschen. Ibid., 62:
Kanthack, A.A. 1889 Studien iiber die Histologie der Larynxschleimhaut. I. Die Schleimhaut des halb ausgetragenen Fotus. Ibid., 118:
1890a Studien iiber die Histologie der
Larynxschleimhaut. I1 Die Schleimhaut des
neugebornen Kindes nebst einigen Bemerkungen iiber die “Metaplasie” des Larynxepithels
und die “epidermoidale Umwandlung” desselben. Ibid., 119: 326-342.
1890b Studien iiber die Histologie der
Larynxschleimhaut. I11 Die Schleimhaut des
neugebornen Kindes nebst einigen Bemerkungen iiber die “Metaplasie” des Larynxepithels
und die “epidermoidale Umwandlung” desselben. Ibid., 120: 273-294.
Kiesow 1902 Sur la presence de boutons rrustatives a la surface finguale de I’epiglotG humaine etc. Arch. Ital. Biol., 38: 334, cited in
Kolmer (1927).
Kolmer, W. 1927 C. Geschmacksorgan. Mollendorffs Handb. Mikr. Anat. Menschen, vol.
III/l : 154-196, J. Springer, Berlin.
Krause, W. 1870 Die Nervendigungen i n der
Zunge des Menschen. Nachr. v. d. Kgl. Ges. d.
Wiss., Gottingen, Math.-physik. Klass 1870.
Nr. 18: 331-349.
Lovh, C. 1868 Beitrage zur Kenntnis vom
Bau der Geschmackswkzchen der Zunge.
Arch. Mikr. Anat., 4: 96-110.
Patzelt, V. 1921 Die Ergebnisse einer Untersuchung iiber die Histologie und Histogenese
der menschlichen Epiglottis unter besonderer
Beriicksichtigung der Metaplasiefrage. Anat.
Anz., 54: 161-184.
1923 Ober die menschliche Epiglottis
und die Entwicklung des Epithel in den Nach-
bargebieten. Z. Anat. Entwickl. Gesch., 70:
Ponzo, M. 1907a Intorno alla presenza di
organi gustativi sulla faccia intefiore della
lingua del feto umano. Anat. Anz., 30: 529532.
1907b Sulla presenza di organi del
gusto nella parte laryngea della pharinge nel
tratto cervicale dell'esofago enet palato del feto
umano. Ibid., 31: 570-575.
Torrey, T. W. 1934 Relation of taste buds to
their nerve fibers. J. Comp. Neur., 59: 203-220.
Verson 1868 Beitrag zur Kenntnis des Kehlkopfes und der Luftrohre. S.-B. Akad. Wiss.
Wien, math.-nat. KI., 57: cited in Kolmer
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taste, distributions, buds, pharynx, larynx, uvula, number, epiglottis, newborn, human, palate, soft
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