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Differences in the Density of Fungiform Papillae and Composition of Saliva in Patients With Taste Disorders Compared to Healthy Controls

  • Walliczek-Dworschak, Ute
  • Schöps, Franz
  • Feron, Gilles
  • Brignot, Hélène
  • Hähner, Antje
  • Hummel, Thomas
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2017
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This study investigated the relation of the fungiform taste papillae density and saliva composition with the taste perception of patients suffering from diagnosed taste disorders. For this purpose, 81 patients and 40 healthy subjects were included. Taste was measured by means of regional and whole mouth chemosensory tests, and electrogustometry. Olfaction was assessed using the Sniffin Sticks. Fungiform papillae were quantified using the "Denver Papillae Protocol for Objective Analysis of Fungiform Papillae". In addition, salivary parameters [flow rate, total proteins, catalase, total anti-oxidative capacity (TAC), carbonic anhydrase VI (caVI), and pH] were determined and the Beck Depression Inventory was administered. Patients showed less taste papillae compared to healthy subjects. The number of papillae correlated with total taste strip score and salivary flow rate. Regarding salivary parameters, the flow rate, protein concentration, and TAC of patients were higher compared to controls. In addition, salivary flow rate, protease, caVI, and catalase values correlated with the summed taste strip score. Regarding various taste disorders, salty-dysgeusia patients showed the lowest taste test scores compared to those with bitter or metal-dysgeusia. Olfactory function of patients was significantly worse compared to healthy controls. This difference was most pronounced for ageusia patients. Compared to controls, patients also exhibited higher depressive symptoms. The density of fungiform papillae seemed to be positively associated with taste perception. Furthermore, patients exhibited changes in saliva composition (higher salivary flow rate, increased protein concentration, proteolysis, and TAC) compared to controls indicating that assessment of saliva may be critical for the diagnostic procedure in taste disorders.

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