Colchicine blocks mitotic division of the epithelial cells surrounding the taste bud of the rat tongue. Response to chemical stimulation decreases 50 per cent 3 hours after colchicine injection as measured by recording the electrical activity from the taste nerve bundle. Radioautography, using tritiated thymidine, shows that those epithelial cells surrounding the taste bud divide and that some of the daughter cells enter the taste bud and slowly move toward the center. The life span of the average cell is about 250 ± 50 hours, although some cells have a much shorter and others a much longer life span. These studies suggest that the cells within the taste bud, as well as the nerves, undergo considerable change with time. Corresponding changes in function are considered.

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