Environmental pollutants alter taste responses in the gerbil.
Taste and smell are chemical senses that play a crucial role in food selection. Damage to taste and smell receptors can impair food intake, nutritional status, and survival. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of 11 environmental pollutants (nine insecticides and two herbicides) on electrophysiological taste responses in the gerbil. Integrated chorda tympani (CT) recordings were obtained from gerbils to a range of tastants before and after a 4-min application of 1 of 11 environmental pollutants. The taste stimuli were: sodium chloride (100 mM), calcium chloride (300 mM), magnesium chloride (100 mM), HCl (10 mM), potassium chloride (500 mM), monosodium glutamate (MSG) (50 mM), sucrose (100 mM), fructose (300 mM), sodium saccharin (10 mM), quinine HCl (30 mM), and urea (2 M). The nine insecticides included organophosphorous, carbamate, and pyrethroid insecticides. The seven organophosphorous insecticides tested were: acephate, carbofuran, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos oxon, demeton, malathion, and methamidophos. The carbamate insecticide carbaryl and the pyrethroid insecticide fenvalerate were also tested. Two herbicides, paraquat and glyphosate, were tested, and dose-response curves for each of these two herbicides were also determined. All of the 11 insecticides and herbicides had an effect on some of the taste stimuli tested. Application of 10 mM methamidophos exhibited the greatest amount of suppression on the 11 taste solutions. Each taste stimulus was significantly suppressed with the exception of 2 M urea. Herbicides paraquat and glyphosate also reduced responses to several tastants. These data indicate that environmental pollutants can modify taste responses in the gerbil.
Schiffman, SS; Suggs, MS; Abou Donia, MB; Erickson, RP; Nagle, HT
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