Navigation Links
Monell scientists identify elusive taste stem cells

PHILADELPHIA (February 4, 2013) Scientists at the Monell Center have identified the location and certain genetic characteristics of taste stem cells on the tongue. The findings will facilitate techniques to grow and manipulate new functional taste cells for both clinical and research purposes.

"Cancer patients who have taste loss following radiation to the head and neck and elderly individuals with diminished taste function are just two populations who could benefit from the ability to activate adult taste stem cells," said Robert Margolskee, M.D., Ph.D., a molecular neurobiologist at Monell who is one of the study's authors.

Taste cells are located in clusters called taste buds, which in turn are found in papillae, the raised bumps visible on the tongue's surface.

Two types of taste cells contain chemical receptors that initiate perception of sweet, bitter, umami, salty, and sour taste qualities. A third type appears to serve as a supporting cell.

A remarkable characteristic of these sensory cells is that they regularly regenerate. All three taste cell types undergo frequent turnover, with an average lifespan of 10-16 days. As such, new taste cells must constantly be regenerated to replace cells that have died.

For decades, taste scientists have attempted to identify the stem or progenitor cells that spawn the different taste receptor cells. The elusive challenge also sought to establish whether one or several progenitors are involved and where they are located, whether in or near the taste bud.

Drawing on the strong physiological relationship between oral taste cells and endocrine (hormone producing) cells in the intestine, the Monell team used a marker for intestinal stem cells to probe for stem cells in taste tissue on the tongue.

Stains for the stem cell marker, known as Lgr5 (leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5), showed two patterns of expression in taste tissue. The first was a strong signal underlying taste papillae at the back of the tongue and the second was a weaker signal immediately underneath taste buds in those papillae.

The Monell scientists hypothesize that the two levels of expression could indicate two different populations of cells. The cells that more strongly express Lgr5 could be true taste stem cells, whereas those with weaker expression could represent those stem cells that have begun the transformation into functional taste cells.

Additional studies revealed that the Lgr5-expressing cells were capable of becoming any one of the three major taste cell types.

The findings are published online in the journal Stem Cells.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said senior author Peihua Jiang, Ph.D., also a Monell molecular neurobiologist. "Identification of these cells opens up a whole new area for studying taste cell renewal, and contributes to stem cell biology in general."

Future studies will focus on identifying the factors that program the Lgr5-expressing cells to differentiate into the different taste cell types, and explore how to grow these cells in culture, thus providing a renewable source of taste receptor cells for research and perhaps even clinical use.


Contact: Leslie Stein
Monell Chemical Senses Center

Related medicine news :

1. Pet Hedgehogs Linked to Salmonella Outbreak in 8 States
2. Salmonella Cause of Most Foodborne-Illness Outbreaks: CDC
3. Vaccination responsible for dramatic fall in Salmonella infections
4. Salmonella spreads by targeting cells in our gut, study shows
5. Health Officials Tracking Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Turtles
6. FDA Cites Possible Source of Cantaloupe-Salmonella Outbreak
7. 33 Sickened by Salmonella Linked to Ground Beef: CDC
8. Ohio Mail-Order Hatchery Now Linked to Salmonella in 23 States
9. American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) Releases Nation's First Standard for Mitigating Radon (Radioactivity) in Multifamily Buildings
10. Scientists Find Clue to Aging Reversal in Mice
11. Leading researchers warn of brain drain as scientists struggle to find funding
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... 28, 2015 , ... Safe storage for contraceptive devices may not always be ... New Jersey and the other from Bradley Beach, New Jersey, there is an easy ... of having to replace NuvaRings more often than necessary. As such, it affords peace ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... According ... at the recent 2015 American Dental Association meeting in Washington D.C. revolved around the ... protect a patient’s overall health. The talk stressed the link between periodontal disease (more ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... and convenient way to dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented the ... to monitor and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could help to ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of ... than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population ... global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Keeping in mind challenges faced by parents ... consultation, has collaborated with a leading web-based marketplace for extra-curricular activities for children ... and bring advice from parenting experts within their reach. As a part of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> adds "Global ... and "Investigation Report on China Repaglinide ... 2021 forecasts data and information to ... . --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Nov. 26, 2015 Research and Markets ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ... Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> --> This ... the Italian therapeutic drug monitoring market, including emerging ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ... European Cell Surface Marker Testing Market: ...  report to their offering.  --> ... addition of the  "2016 Future Horizons ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: