Bio-artificial tongue with tongue extracellular matrix and primary taste cells

Jung Seung Lee, Ann-Na Cho, Yoonhee Jin, Jin Kim, Suran Kim, Seung-Woo Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Artificial taste devices for tastant sensing and taste information standardization are attracting increasing attention with the exponential growth of the food and beverage industries. Despite recent developments in artificial taste sensors incorporating polymers, lipid membranes, and synthetic vesicles, current devices have limited functionality and sensitivity, and are complex to manufacture. Moreover, such synthetic systems cannot simulate the taste signal transmissions that are critical for complicated taste perception. The current document describes a primary taste cell-based artificial tongue that can mimic taste sensing. To maintain viable and functional taste cells required for in vitro tastant sensing, a tongue extracellular matrix (TEM) prepared by decellularization of tongue tissue was applied to two- and three-dimensional taste cell cultures. The TEM-based system recreates the tongue's microenvironment and significantly improves the functionality of taste cells for sensing tastant molecules by enhancing cellular adhesion and gustatory gene expression compared with conventional collagen-based systems. The TEM-based platform simulates signal transmission from tastant-treated taste cells to adjacent neuronal cells, which was impossible with previous artificial taste sensors. The artificial tongue device may provide highly efficient, functional sensors for tastant detection and in vitro organ models that mimic the tongue allowing elucidation of the mechanisms of taste.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bio-artificial tongue device
  • Tongue extracellular matrix
  • Decellularization
  • Primary taste cell
  • Tastant sensing


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