Human Salty and Bitter Taste Mechanisms

Summary

Principal Investigator: MARION ELIZABETH FRANK
Abstract: Mechanisms of salty and bitter chemoreception in humans are not well understood, in part because compounds that block these tastes have not been available; and importantly, because animals models for salty and bitter taste perceptions are not fully applicable. Chlorhexidine glueonate, a bis-biguanide antiseptic, and weak cathodal electric currents greatly decrease salty and bitter tastes. Besides adaptation, no other experimental manipulations are known to have comparable effects in humans. Chlorhexidine is very bitter, but not salty. Chlorhexidine binds strongly to tissue, which may be related to its unique bis-eationic structure, giving it a long-lasting effect. Human psychophysical experiments are proposed[unreadable] Cation/anion specificity of salty-bitter taste inhibition by 3 levels of ehlorhexidine and 2 levels of weak eathodal current is studied with experiments utilizing rating of taste intensity and taste-quality identification of equi-intense stimuli. Taste- stimulus identification is studied after treatment with two levels of ehlorhexidine with measures of information transferred (in bits). Tlo, a measure of consistency, is eomputed from a matrix of 10 replicate identifications of 10 stimuli. Forty-five Tes, measures of stimulus diseriminability, are eomputedfor all possible stimulus pairs. This "confusion-matrix" methodology is an efficient and objective method for determining discriminability of multiple stimuli. Various salt and bitter stimulus combinations are included in sets of equi-intense stimuli to test the hypothesis that chlorhexidine affects ionic bitter stimuli more than non- ionic bitter stimuli. Two levels of chlorhexidine are used with concentration series of suerose, NaCI, citric acid and quinine.HC! to address the nature of the inhibition. Effects of adaptation to other bitter stimuli on the bitter taste of chlorhexidine are studied to establish whether one mechanism of action of chlorhexidine could involve its binding to a subset of bitter receptors. The experiments address the general hypothesis that transduction of salty stimuli is unitary, depending on ion-transport pathways; but bitter transduction is multiple, including ionic and non-ionic mechanisms. Greater understanding of gustatory perceptual processing in humans may lead to better management of taste disorders such as distressful salty-bitter dysgeusias and excessive salt intake.
Funding Period: 2003-01-08 - 2008-12-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc Effects of selective adaptation on coding sugar and salt tastes in mixtures
    Marion E Frank
    Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, Division of Periodontology, Center for Chemosensory Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030 1715, USA
    Chem Senses 37:701-9. 2012
  2. pmc Time and intensity factors in identification of components of odor mixtures
    Marion E Frank
    Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, Division of Periodontology, Center for Chemosensory Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030 1715, USA
    Chem Senses 35:777-87. 2010
  3. pmc Characteristic component odors emerge from mixtures after selective adaptation
    Holly F Goyert
    Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
    Brain Res Bull 72:1-9. 2007
  4. ncbi Regional specificity of chlorhexidine effects on taste perception
    Ruchi Grover
    Department of Biology, University of Hartford, CT 06117, USA
    Chem Senses 33:311-8. 2008
  5. pmc Cracking taste codes by tapping into sensory neuron impulse traffic
    Marion E Frank
    Center for Chemosensory Sciences, Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030 1715, United States
    Prog Neurobiol 86:245-63. 2008
  6. pmc Salt taste inhibition by cathodal current
    Thomas P Hettinger
    Center for Chemosensory Sciences, Division of Periodontology, Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030 1715, USA
    Brain Res Bull 80:107-15. 2009
  7. pmc Taste coding after selective inhibition by chlorhexidine
    Miao Fen Wang
    John B Pierce Laboratory, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA
    Chem Senses 34:653-66. 2009

Scientific Experts

Detail Information

Publications7

  1. pmc Effects of selective adaptation on coding sugar and salt tastes in mixtures
    Marion E Frank
    Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, Division of Periodontology, Center for Chemosensory Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030 1715, USA
    Chem Senses 37:701-9. 2012
    ..Furthermore, like odors, stronger and recent tastes are emphasized in dynamic experimental conditions replicating natural situations...
  2. pmc Time and intensity factors in identification of components of odor mixtures
    Marion E Frank
    Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, Division of Periodontology, Center for Chemosensory Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030 1715, USA
    Chem Senses 35:777-87. 2010
    ..Rapid selective adaptation and mixture component suppression manipulate effective intensity to promote emergence of characteristic odor qualities in dynamic natural settings...
  3. pmc Characteristic component odors emerge from mixtures after selective adaptation
    Holly F Goyert
    Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
    Brain Res Bull 72:1-9. 2007
    ....
  4. ncbi Regional specificity of chlorhexidine effects on taste perception
    Ruchi Grover
    Department of Biology, University of Hartford, CT 06117, USA
    Chem Senses 33:311-8. 2008
    ..The current results are the first to suggest that there may also be distinct, regionally specific populations of NaCl-taste receptors in humans...
  5. pmc Cracking taste codes by tapping into sensory neuron impulse traffic
    Marion E Frank
    Center for Chemosensory Sciences, Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030 1715, United States
    Prog Neurobiol 86:245-63. 2008
    ..Establishing the information afferent neurons traffic to the brain about natural taste stimuli imbedded in dynamic complex mixtures will ultimately "crack taste codes."..
  6. pmc Salt taste inhibition by cathodal current
    Thomas P Hettinger
    Center for Chemosensory Sciences, Division of Periodontology, Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030 1715, USA
    Brain Res Bull 80:107-15. 2009
    ..Cathodal current may selectively inhibit salty and bitter-salty tastes for which proximal stimuli are cations...
  7. pmc Taste coding after selective inhibition by chlorhexidine
    Miao Fen Wang
    John B Pierce Laboratory, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA
    Chem Senses 34:653-66. 2009
    ..Discrimination among prototypic stimuli with varying strengths was consistent with a gustatory system that evaluates a small number of independent tastes...