Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

2009 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Binder, Nobutaka Hirokawa, Uwe Windhorst

Filiform Papillae

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_1739


(Papilla: small protuberance, Filum: thread) Filiform papillae are keratinous structures emerging from the surface of the tongue epithelium. They are densely packed on the central axis and more sparse on the lateral edges filiform papillae cover the dorsal tongue from the sulcus terminalis to the tip. There are two types of morphologically distinguishable filiform papillae: those composed of a base shaped like a dome (primary papilla) surmounted by 5–30 elongated conical spikes (secondary papillae) and those composed of a single conical spike (solitary papilla) These structures which do not contain taste buds are made of layers of epithelial cells expressing keratins. Defective desquamation of some cells composing the cony spikes is associated with a condition called “black hairy tongue” characterized by the transformation of filiform papillae into “hairlike” elongated cornified spines.


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