Elements expressing the molecular mechanisms of gustatory transduction have been described in several organs in the digestive and respiratory apparatuses. These taste cell-related elements are isolated cells, which are not grouped in buds, and they have been interpreted as chemoreceptors. Their presence in epithelia of endodermal origin suggests the existence of a diffuse chemosensory system (DCS) sharing common signaling mechanisms with the "classic" taste organs. The elements of this taste cell-related DCS display a site-related morphologic polymorphism, and in the past they have been indicated with various names (e.g., brush, tuft, caveolated, fibrillo-vesicular or solitary chemosensory cells). It may be that the taste cell-related DCS is like an iceberg: the taste buds are probably only the most visible portion, with most of the iceberg more caudally located in the form of solitary chemosensory cells or chemosensory clusters. Comparative anatomical studies in lower vertebrates suggest that this 'submerged' portion may represent the most phylogenetically ancient component of the system, which is probably involved in defensive or digestive mechanisms. In the taste buds, the presence of several cell subtypes and of a wide range of molecular mechanisms permits precise food analysis. The larger, 'submerged' portion of the iceberg is composed of a polymorphic population of isolated elements or cell clusters in which the molecular cascade of cell signaling needs to be explored in detail. The little data we have strongly suggests a close relationship with taste cells. Morphological and biochemical considerations suggest that the DCS is a potential new drug target. Modulation of the respiratory and digestive apparatuses through substances, which act on the molecular receptors of this chemoreceptive system, could be a new frontier in drug discovery.

The taste cell-related diffuse chemosensory system.

SBARBATI, Andrea;OSCULATI, Francesco
2005-01-01

Abstract

Elements expressing the molecular mechanisms of gustatory transduction have been described in several organs in the digestive and respiratory apparatuses. These taste cell-related elements are isolated cells, which are not grouped in buds, and they have been interpreted as chemoreceptors. Their presence in epithelia of endodermal origin suggests the existence of a diffuse chemosensory system (DCS) sharing common signaling mechanisms with the "classic" taste organs. The elements of this taste cell-related DCS display a site-related morphologic polymorphism, and in the past they have been indicated with various names (e.g., brush, tuft, caveolated, fibrillo-vesicular or solitary chemosensory cells). It may be that the taste cell-related DCS is like an iceberg: the taste buds are probably only the most visible portion, with most of the iceberg more caudally located in the form of solitary chemosensory cells or chemosensory clusters. Comparative anatomical studies in lower vertebrates suggest that this 'submerged' portion may represent the most phylogenetically ancient component of the system, which is probably involved in defensive or digestive mechanisms. In the taste buds, the presence of several cell subtypes and of a wide range of molecular mechanisms permits precise food analysis. The larger, 'submerged' portion of the iceberg is composed of a polymorphic population of isolated elements or cell clusters in which the molecular cascade of cell signaling needs to be explored in detail. The little data we have strongly suggests a close relationship with taste cells. Morphological and biochemical considerations suggest that the DCS is a potential new drug target. Modulation of the respiratory and digestive apparatuses through substances, which act on the molecular receptors of this chemoreceptive system, could be a new frontier in drug discovery.
diffuse chemosensory system; solitary chemosensory cells; brush cells; peripheral taste system
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/304478
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 35
  • Scopus 73
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 70
social impact