Chorda tympani and lingual nerve responses to astringent compounds in rodents.
A wide variety of compounds in foods and beverages produce astringent sensations when introduced into the oral cavity. There is controversy, however, whether "astringency," with its associated puckering and drying sensations, is a fundamental taste quality or is a tactile sensation. To address this issue, electrophysiological recordings were made from the gerbil chorda tympani nerve and the rat lingual nerve. The chorda tympani nerve transmits taste information from the anterior 2/3 of the tongue, whereas the lingual nerve transmits tactile, thermal and pain sensations from the anterior 2/3 of the tongue. The astringent compounds tested were: tannic acid, tartaric acid, gallic acid, aluminum ammonium sulfate and aluminum potassium sulfate. Tannic acid, tartaric acid, and gallic acids were tested at concentrations up to 120 mM over a pH range from approximately 2 to 6. The aluminum salts were tested at concentrations up to 160 mM only at low pH's. All compounds rapidly (and at lower concentrations, reversibly) stimulate the chorda tympani nerve in a concentration-dependent manner at all pH's tested. The rapidity and reversibility of the chorda tympani responses suggest that astringent-tasting compounds interact directly with taste cells rather than indirectly by precipitating salivary proteins. At pH 6, tannic acid, tartaric acid, and gallic acid all elicit robust chorda tympani responses, implying that the ionized forms of these compounds produce taste sensations. None of these compounds stimulate lingual nerves over the same concentration and pH ranges used in the chorda tympani experiments.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Schiffman, SS; Suggs, MS; Sostman, AL; Simon, SA
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