In rodents, the circumvallate papilla (CVP), with its underlying minor salivary gland, the von Ebners' gland (VEG), is located on the dorsal surface of the posterior tongue. Detailed morphological processes to form the proper structure of CVP and VEG have not been properly elucidated. In particular, the specific localization patterns of taste buds in CVP and the branching formation of VEG have not yet been elucidated. To understand the developmental mechanisms underlying CVP and VEG formation, detailed histological observations of CVP and VEG were examined using a three-dimensional computer-aided reconstruction method with serial histological sections and pan-Cytokeratins immunostainings. In addition, to define the developmental processes in CVP and VEG formation, we examined nerve innervations and cell proliferation using microinjections of AM1-43 and immunostainings with various markers, including phosphoinositide 3-kinase, Ki-67, PGP9.5, and Ulex europaeus agglutinin 1 (UEA1). Results revealed specific morphogenesis of CVP and VEG with nerve innervations patterns, evaluated by the coincided localization patterns of AM1-43 and UEA1. Based on these morphological and immunohistochemical results, we suggest that nerve innervations and cell proliferations play important roles in the positioning of taste buds in CVP and branching morphogenesis of VEG in tongue development.
Keywords: Circumvallate papilla, von Ebners glands, Epithelial differentiation, AM1-43 microinjections, 3D computer-aided reconstruction