Astringent compounds suppress taste responses in gerbil.
Astringent tastes are generally considered those that induce long-lasting puckering and drying sensations on the tongue and membranes of the oral cavity. Electrophysiological recordings were made here from the whole chorda tympani nerve in gerbil to understand the interactive effect of astringent-tasting molecules with a broad spectrum of tastants including mono- and divalent salts, bitter compounds, acids, and sweeteners. The astringent tasting compounds were tannic acid (24 mM at pH's 2.9 and 5.5), aluminum ammonium sulfate (30 mM), aluminum potassium sulfate (10 mM) and gallic acid (30 mM). Hydrochloric acid (1 mM, pH 2.9) was also tested to control for acidity, since aqueous solutions of astringent-tasting compounds are acidic. Adaptation of the tongue to tannic acid (24 mM) at both pH 2.9 and 5.5 markedly inhibited responses elicited by salts, acids, sweeteners, and bitter-tasting compounds. The degree of the inhibition at these two pH values is about the same which suggests that tannic acid itself (as opposed to acidity) may produce this inhibition. Chorda tympani responses to sweeteners were completely suppressed by tannic acid; responses to KCl, NH4Cl, and urea were the least suppressed. The aluminum salts also inhibited the chorda tympani responses to all stimuli tested. Gallic acid, which is weakly astringent, had minimal effects on the chorda tympani responses to the test compounds. These data suggest that both tannic acid and the aluminum salts inhibit a variety of transport pathways and receptors in taste cells for a broad spectrum of tastants. The inhibition of some of these pathways may contribute to the astringent taste sensation.
Schiffman, SS; Suggs, MS; Simon, SA
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