Intracellular recordings of membrane potentials of mudpuppy lingual cells were made with micropipette electrodes. Three types of cells were distinguished by their responses to chemical stimulation. Surface epithelial (SE) cells outside of taste buds responded with large membrane potential and resistance changes to a variety of stimuli representing the four taste qualities. Salts and acids evoked particularly large potential changes, and MgCl2, acids, and quinine greatly increased the membrane resistance. One type of taste bud cell (TB-1) was characterized by large depolarizations to K salts, and the other type of taste bud cell (TB-2) characteristically hyperpolarized to MgCl2, acid, and sugar solutions. Membrane resistance changes accompanying TB-1 and TB-2 cell responses were relatively small compared to those of SE cells. Electrotonic coupling was observed between pairs of SE and TB-2 cells but not for pairs of TB-1 cells nor cells of different types. After recording cell responses, dye-marking allowed verification of results in situ and histologically. From the identification of cells in section, it is hypothesized the TB-1 and TB-2 cells correspond to light and dark cells, respectively. Responses of TB-1 cells imply a taste receptive function; wheras TB 2-cell responses suggest secretory, supportive, and (or) receptive functions. Factors affecting cellular characteristics, non-taste bud cell responsiveness, response mechanisms, and function of electrotonic coupling are discussed in relation to taste reception.

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