Ultrastructure of palatal taste buds in the perihatching chick

Donald Ganchrow*, Judith R. Ganchrow, Ronald S. Goldstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Palatal taste buds of perihatching chicks were examined by electron microscopy. Four intragemmal cell types were characterized. (1) Light: with voluminous, electron‐lucent cytoplasm containing scattered free ribosomes, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, plump mitochondria, sparse perinuclear filaments, occasional Golgi bodies, and numerous clear and dense‐cored vesicles. Clear vesicles sometimes aggregate in a presynaptic‐like configuration apposed to an axonal profile. These cells contained large, spherical, uniformly granular nuclei with one nucleolus. (2) Dark: with dense cytoplasm containing filamentous bundles surrounding the nucleus, occasional clear vesicles, centrioles, rough endoplasmic reticulum, and compact mitochrondria. The apical cytoplasm noticeably lacks dense secretory granules. Irregular to lobulated nuclei are densely granular, and contain scattered clumps of chromatin, adhering especially to the inner leaflet of the nuclear membrane, and at least one nucleolus. Cytoplasmic extensions of dark cells envelop other intragemmal cell types and nerve fibers. Light and dark cells project microvilli into the taste pore. (3) Intermediate: contain gradations of features of light and dark cells. (4) Basal: darker than the other intragemmal cell types and confined to the ventral bud region. Putative afferent synapses in relation to light cells, and axo‐axonal contacts are described. While the appearance of axo‐axonal contacts may be a transient developmental event, other bud features are consonant with observations in adult chickens and suggest that the peripheral gustatory apparatus is mature at hatching in this precocial avian species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Anatomy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1991


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