A mouse single taste bud contains 10–100 taste bud cells (TBCs) in which the elongated TBCs are classified into 3 cell types (types I–III) equipped with different taste receptors. Accordingly, differences in the cell numbers and ratios of respective cell types per taste bud may affect taste-nerve responsiveness. Here, we examined the numbers of each immunoreactive cell for the type II (sweet, bitter, or umami receptor cells) and type III (sour and/or salt receptor cells) markers per taste bud in the circumvallate and foliate papillae and compared these numerical features of TBCs per taste bud to those in fungiform papilla and soft palate, which we previously reported. In circumvallate and foliate taste buds, the numbers of TBCs and immunoreactive cells per taste bud increased as a linear function of the maximal cross-sectional taste bud area. Type II cells made up approximately 25% of TBCs irrespective of the regions from which the TBCs arose. In contrast, type III cells in circumvallate and foliate taste buds made up approximately 11% of TBCs, which represented almost 2 times higher than what was observed in the fungiform and soft palate taste buds. The densities (number of immunoreactive cells per taste bud divided by the maximal cross-sectional area of the taste bud) of types II and III cells per taste bud are significantly higher in the circumvallate papillae than in the other regions. The effects of these region-dependent differences on the taste response of the taste bud are discussed.

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