Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Dental Science (MDS)



Research Advisor

Christopher Nosrat, D.D.S., Ph.D.


Swati Rawal, B.D.S., M.D.S., M.S. Yeshwant Rawal, B.D.S., M.D.S., M.S. Tiffany Seagroves, Ph.D.


129, Fungiform Papillae, FVB, Inbred Mice, Taste Bud


Taster and non-taster mice strains have been used extensively in animal taste research. Inbred mouse strains C57 and FVB have been proposed to be tasters, where as strains 129 and Balb/C are classified as non-tasters. Therefore, evaluating the peripheral taste system in these mice is of great importance to determine if there are morphological differences that might explain the physiological classification. The purpose of the present study was to determine if inbred mice that have been shown to be tasters have a larger number of fungiform papillae, have larger fungiform papillae and have larger taste buds. My work in this study involved counting the number of fungiform papillae from male and female of each strain, utilizing green food dye under light microscopy. I also utilized a scanning electron microscope after tongues were dehydrated in alcohol and Hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) and sputter coated with gold to evaluate size and shape of fungiform papillae. I used antibodies to troma-1, utilizing indirect immunohistochemistry on tissue sections to evaluate size and shape of taste buds within each strain. Unpaired t-test was used to analyze the results. There was a significant difference in the number of fungiform papillae as seen under light microscopy in the non-taster 129 strain compared to the other strains. Data generated by scanning electron microscope also suggest that the size of the fungiform papillae is significantly smaller in the non-taster Balb/C and 129 strains. Moreover, the 129 strain had the lowest number of fungiform papillae whereas Balb/C mice had the smallest fungiform surface area among the strains studied. We also evaluated whether multiplying fungiform papillae number by the papillary surface area might also be used as an indicator for the size of the receptor field in different mouse strains. Using this method, we showed that non-taster strains had a smaller receptor field area than taster strains. In summary, our study shows that the taster/non-taster phenotype is reflected in the tongue surface morphology among the strains studied.