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Paul Kim

Taste pathway (English)

Taste pathway (English)

The taste sensation from taste buds of the anterior two-thirds of the tongue (fungiform and foliate papillae), travels via the chorda tympani of the facial nerve. Additionally, the greater petrosal branch of the facial nerve supplies the taste buds on the soft palate. The cell bodies of these neurons are located in the geniculate ganglion and continue towards the brainstem as the sensory root of facial nerve, also known as the intermediate nerve. Taste sensation from the posterior 1/3 of the tongue is carried by the lingual branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve; the cell bodies of these neurons are located in the inferior ganglion of glossopharyngeal nerve. Taste sensation from the laryngeal surface of the epiglottis is carried by the superior laryngeal branch of the vagus nerve: the cell bodies of these neurons are located inthe inferior ganglion of vagus nerve. Upon entering the brainstem, central processes of gustatory neurons in the facial, glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves form the solitary tract and synapse in the rostral third of the nucleus of solitary tract in the medulla oblongata. Second-order neurons then ascend via three pathways. The majority of the fibers go on to synapse in the ventral posteromedial nucleus of the thalamus and synapse with third-order neurons destined for the insular cortex for the interpretation of taste. The second set of fibers travel to the lateral hypothalamic area, which is involved in appetite and satiety mechanisms. Other fibers pass to the amygdala, which is involved in emotions and memory formation in relation to food.
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