OBJECTIVES: This investigation aimed to demonstrate age-related changes of taste buds on the human epiglottis using histomorphometrical analysis. METHODS: Histological observation and measurement of taste bud density were performed on oral and laryngeal surfaces of 237 human epiglottises (138 male and 99 females). The cases were divided into two age groups: 67 cases in the younger group, for subjects aged 10-39 years and 170 cases in the older group, for those aged 70-98 years. Each epiglottis was investigated at the upper and middle height levels. RESULTS: The mean density of taste buds significantly decreased on the laryngeal surfaces in the older group. Most taste buds were present in the upper height level on the laryngeal surfaces which were covered with thin and flat stratified squamous epithelium. The covering epithelium revealed developed epithelial ridges on the oral surfaces without taste buds. These results suggest a relationship between the existence of taste buds and the thickness of the covering epithelium. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of taste buds in the epiglottises of elderly people was demonstrated. In addition, the decrease of these taste buds with advancing age was clarified.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology