Effects of zinc deficiency on the vallate papillae and taste buds in rats

H. C. Chou, C. L. Chien, H. L. Huang, K. S. Lu

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose: Zinc deficiency is associated with multiple clinical complications, including taste disturbance, anorexia, growth retardation, skin changes, and hypogonadism. We investigated the zinc-deficiency-induced morphologic changes in the vallate taste buds of weanling and young adult male Wistar rats. Methods: A total of 24 weanling and 30 young adult rats were used. Each age group was further divided into a control group fed a zinc-adequate (50 ppm) diet, a zinc-deficient (<1 ppm) diet group, and a zinc-adequate pair-fed group who were fed the same amount of food as that taken by the zinc-deficient group. Weanling rats were fed for 4 weeks and young adult rats were fed for 6 weeks. The morphometry and morphologic changes of vallate taste buds were analyzed using light and transmission electron microscopy. Results: Light microscopy revealed no significant difference in papilla size and morphology among the various groups. In both weanling and young adult rats in the zinc-deficient diet and pair-fed groups, the number of taste buds per papilla (per animal) and the average profile area of the taste bud were significantly smaller than those of the corresponding controls (p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-335
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Electron microscopy
  • Taste buds
  • Zinc deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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