The histomorphology and cholinesterase activity of the taste buds and the gustatory nerve fibre sin well-fed, in protein and protein-calorie deficient rats have been investigated. The nerve fibre arborisation in the taste buds is predominantly nonmyelinated and shows degenerative changes ranging from initial swelling to disintegration, fragmentation and finally complete disappearance with the increasing degree and duration of food deprivation. Coincident with these changes in the nerve fibre, the taste bud also shows various stages of degeneration. By contrast, the cholinesterase activity in the gustatory papillae shows an initial increase during the first week followed by a decline in the activity during the succeeding weeks; a second peak of cholinesterase activity appears during 4–6 weeks. The cholinesterase activity is barely detectable after the 8th week. In the more severely protein calorie restricted groups, the cholinesterase changes are more pronounced and abrupt in onset and show a total disappearance by 4–5 weeks.