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Solitary chemosensory cells and chemosensory cell clusters are distributed in the pharynx and larynx. In the present study, the morphology and reflexogenic function of solitary chemosensory cells and chemosensory cell clusters in the nasal cavity and pharynx were examined using immunofluorescence for GNAT3 and electrophysiology. In the nasal cavity, GNAT3-immunoreactive solitary chemosensory cells were widely distributed in the nasal mucosa, particularly in the cranial region near the nostrils. Solitary chemosensory cells were also observed in the nasopharynx. Solitary chemosensory cells in the nasopharyngeal cavity were barrel like or slender in shape with long lateral processes within the epithelial layer to attach surrounding ciliated epithelial cells. Chemosensory cell clusters containing GNAT3-immunoreactive cells were also detected in the pharynx. GNAT3-immunoreactive cells gathered with SNAP25-immunoreactive cells in chemosensory clusters. GNAT3-immunoreactive chemosensory cells were in close contact with a few SP- or CGRP-immunoreactive nerve endings. In the pharynx, GNAT3-immunoreactive chemosensory cells were also attached to P2X3-immunoreactive nerve endings. Physiologically, the perfusion of 10 mM quinine hydrochloride (QHCl) solution induced ventilatory depression. The QHCl-induced reflex was diminished by bilateral section of the glossopharyngeal nerve, suggesting autonomic reflex were evoked by chemosensory cells in pharynx but not in nasal mucosa. The present results indicate that complex shape of nasopharyngeal solitary chemosensory cells may contribute to intercellular communication, and pharyngeal chemosensory cells may play a role in respiratory depression. © 2021 Anatomical Society.


Yoshio Yamamoto, Takuya Yokoyama, Nobuaki Nakamuta. Morphology of GNAT3-immunoreactive chemosensory cells in the nasal cavity and pharynx of the rat. Journal of anatomy. 2021 Mar 06

PMID: 33677835

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