Peripheral Filters and Chemoreceptor Cells in Fishes

  • John Caprio


Olfaction in vertebrates is the sense used in the processing of chemical information that is detected and transmitted to the central nervous system by bipolar neurons that compose the olfactory nerve (cranial nerve I). Gustation is the sense used in the processing of chemical information that is detected by taste cells and transmitted centrally by facial (cranial nerve VII), glossopharyngeal (IX), or vagal (X) nerves. Receptor cells of both systems must discriminate relevant chemical stimuli from background chemical “noise” that exists in the immediate environment of all vertebrates. This ability of chemoreceptors to act as “peripheral filters” by detecting and preferentially passing information concerning biologically important chemical stimuli occurs through the evolutionary development of different receptor molecules with different chemospecificities built into the membranes of the receptor cells. This chapter will review the general organization of the olfactory epithelium and taste bud structure in fishes and summarize recent physiological findings as they relate to the sensitivities and specificities of the “filtering elements” (i.e., transduction processes and types of receptor sites) of the receptive olfactory and gustatory receptor cells. For books specific to chemoreception in aquatic organisms, see Kleerekoper (1969), Mackie and Grant (1974), Hara (1982), and Hasler and Scholz (1983).


Olfactory Receptor Olfactory Epithelium Channel Catfish Neutral Amino Acid Taste Cell 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Caprio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and PhysiologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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