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Immunohistochemical Demonstration Of Nerve Terminals In The Whole Hard Palate Of Rats By Use Of An Antiserum Against Protein Gene Product 9.5 (PGP 9.5).

C. Mitsui, T. Iwanaga, S. Yoshida, T. Kawasaki
Published 2000 · Biology, Medicine

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Sensory innervation of the entire hard palate was investigated in the rat using serial sections immunostained for protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5), a neuronal marker. PGP 9.5-immunoreactive nerve endings were widely distributed in the hard palate, but the innervation pattern and density differed among portions. They were numerous at papillary protrusions including the incisal papilla, antemolar/intermolar rugae, and postrugal filiform papillae. Immunoreactive free nerve endings gathered at the summits of the connective tissue papillae, some of them entering deeply into the epithelium. Electron microscopy demonstrated that nerves in the postrugal filiform papillae reached the stratum corneum. The atrial region, possibly the most sensitive in the hard palate, showed unique innervation: its anterior part, adjacent to incisors, developed intraepithelial networks of fine and beaded nerves, whereas its posterior part revealed cone-shaped nerve terminals formed on the connective tissue papillae of the atrial folds which comprised two lines of longitudinal flaps. Taste bud-like corpuscles gathered in the medial walls of the incisal canals and in the "Geschmacksstreifen" (taste stripes) present at the most anterior part of the soft palate. The hard palate of the rat is thus richly innervated, and is characterized by region-specific nerve endings which may be involved in mechano- and chemoreception in the oral cavity.
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