Title

Developing a Sense of Taste: An Investigation of Cell Renewal Rates in Lingual Taste Epithelium

Presenter

Julia Hart

Abstract

Head and neck cancer patients often lose their sense of taste after receiving radiation therapy. Understanding the physiological mechanisms of taste and smell has the potential to improve these patients’ sense of taste. Previously it was accepted that taste buds only lived for 10-14 days, however, here I present research that suggests otherwise. Transgenic mice were first generated to express fluorescent markers in taste buds. Mice were then sacrificed, their tongues were sectioned and these sections were immunostained for confocal microscopy. Confocal analysis revealed taste bud cells that survived for up to 14 weeks. These startling results help to provide insight into taste bud cell turnover rates in humans, and may also help to improve the quality of life of cancer patients.

Faculty Sponsor

Hilary Lease

Sponsor Department/Programs

Biology

Tracks

Cells and Sickness

Terms of Use

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Location

Science 100

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

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Developing a Sense of Taste: An Investigation of Cell Renewal Rates in Lingual Taste Epithelium

Science 100

Head and neck cancer patients often lose their sense of taste after receiving radiation therapy. Understanding the physiological mechanisms of taste and smell has the potential to improve these patients’ sense of taste. Previously it was accepted that taste buds only lived for 10-14 days, however, here I present research that suggests otherwise. Transgenic mice were first generated to express fluorescent markers in taste buds. Mice were then sacrificed, their tongues were sectioned and these sections were immunostained for confocal microscopy. Confocal analysis revealed taste bud cells that survived for up to 14 weeks. These startling results help to provide insight into taste bud cell turnover rates in humans, and may also help to improve the quality of life of cancer patients.

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