Taste signals are first detected by the taste receptor cells, which are located in taste buds existing in the tongue, soft palate, larynx and epiglottis. Taste receptor cells contact with the chemical compounds in oral cavity through the apical processes which protrude into the taste pore. Interaction between chemical compounds and the taste receptor produces activation of taste receptor cells directly or indirectly. Then the signals are transmitted to gustatory nerve fibers and higher order neurons. A recent study demonstrated many similarities between response properties of taste receptor cells with action potentials and those of the gustatory nerve fibers innervating them, suggesting information derived from receptor cells generating action potentials may form a major component of taste information that is transmitted to gustatory nerve fibers. These findings may also indicate that there is no major modification of taste information sampled by taste receptor cells in synaptic transmission from taste cells to nerve fibers although there is indirect evidence. In the peripheral taste system, gustatory nerve fibers may selectively contact with taste receptor cells that have similar response properties and convey constant taste information to the higher order neurons.
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