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Vallate papillae

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Vallate papillae are one of the four types of lingual papillae. These structures contain taste buds with gustatory receptors for taste.

Vallate papillae are the largest of all lingual papillae. There are very few of them, precisely 8 - 12 in humans. They lie in a V-shaped row immediately anterior to the terminal sulcus, which divides the dorsum of the tongue into its anterior two-thirds and a posterior third.

They are round in shape and their apex is coated with stratified squamous epithelium. About 50% of all taste buds are found in the vallate papillae, they are particularly sensitive to bitter taste and can be involved in the gag reflex.

The taste buds of the vallate papillae are innervated by the glossopharyngeal nerve (cranial nerve IX) (despite the fact that they lie anterior to the terminal sulcus).

Terminology English: Vallate papillae

Latin: Papillae vallatae
Definition Vallate papillae are one of the four types of lingual papillae containing taste buds with gustatory receptors for taste.

Learn more about the surface of the tongue in the following study unit:

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