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© Louise SIMONNET / CIML / CNRS Images



Tongue galaxies

The tongue is covered with taste buds that can perceive five tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. This organ remains poorly understood, both regarding its structure and the different cells that make it up. However, immunofluorescence provides a better view of it. The image shows the surface of an epithelium (a tissue that has a covering function) of a rodent’s tongue. The small spikes are filiform papillae (blue autofluorescence), which play a mechanical role in bringing food to the back of the mouth, while the two circular galaxy-like areas (in green and red), are taste buds. Improving existing knowledge of the cellular composition of the tongue will make it possible to understand what happens in the event of an infection or a loss of taste. This image is a winner of the 2021 La preuve par l'image (LPPI) competition.

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