Early Influences on Gustatory Development

  • David L. Hill


The morphological and functional development of the rat gustatory system occurs primarily postnatally. As such, stimulus-induced processes likely play a major role in organizing the sense of taste. However, some very important events that direct development occur long before the gustatory system becomes functional. In order to examine some of the very early organizational processes, it has been necessary to institute experimental manipulations prenatally and then examine the effects as the system develops. Thus, by relating the neurobiological effects with prenatal manipulations, it is the hope that we can get a picture of events that serve to shape the long-term organization of the system during normal development. Moreover, as with all other sensory systems, it is important to identify processes that may have long-term (or permanent) detrimental effects on sensory and brain development. It is my goal in this chapter to provide background information about normal gustatory development that provides the necessary standard by which experimentally induced alterations can be compared, and to then describe findings resulting from early environmental manipulations.


Taste Receptor Taste Cell Terminal Field Taste Receptor Cell Taste Response 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville

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