Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most effective therapy for morbid obesity. This study investigated how gastric bypass affects intake of and preference for high-fat food in an experimental (rat) study and within a trial setting (human). Proportion of dietary fat in gastric bypass patients was significantly lower 6 yr after surgery compared with patients after vertical-banded gastroplasty (P = 0.046). Gastric bypass reduced total fat and caloric intake (P < 0.001) and increased standard low-fat chow consumption compared with sham controls (P < 0.001) in rats. Compared with sham-operated rats, gastric bypass rats displayed much lower preferences for Intralipid concentrations > 0.5% in an ascending concentration series (0.005%, 0.01%, 0.05%, 0.1%, 0.5%, 1%, 5%) of two-bottle preference tests (P = 0.005). This effect was demonstrated 10 and 200 days after surgery. However, there was no difference in appetitive or consummatory behavior in the brief access test between the two groups (P = 0.71) using similar Intralipid concentrations (0.005% through 5%). Levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) were increased after gastric bypass as expected. An oral gavage of 1 ml corn oil after saccharin ingestion in gastric bypass rats induced a conditioned taste aversion. These findings suggest that changes in fat preference may contribute to long-term maintained weight loss after gastric bypass. Postingestive effects of high-fat nutrients resulting in conditioned taste aversion may partially explain this observation; the role of GLP-1 in mediating postprandial responses after gastric bypass requires further investigation.
Background Many active pharmaceutical ingredients taste bitter and thus are aversive to children, as well as many adults. Encapsulation of the medicine in pill or tablet form, an effective method for adults to avoid the unpleasant taste, is problematic for children. Many children cannot or will not swallow solid dosage forms. Objective This review highlights basic principles of gustatory function, with a special focus on the science of bitter taste, derived from studies of animal models and human psychophysics. We focus on the set of genes that encode the proteins that function as bitter receptors, as well as the cascade of events that lead to multidimensional aspects of taste function, highlighting the role that animal models played in these discoveries. We also summarize psychophysical approaches to studying bitter taste in adult and pediatric populations, highlighting evidence of the similarities and differences in bitter taste perception and acceptance between adults and children and drawing on useful strategies from animal models. Results Medicine often tastes bitter, and because children are more bitter sensitive than are adults, this creates problems with compliance. Bitter arises from stimulating receptors in taste receptor cells, with signals processed in the taste bud and relayed to the brain. However, there are many gaps in our understanding of how best to measure bitterness and how to ameliorate it, including whether it is more efficiently addressed at the level of receptor and sensory signaling, at the level of central processing, or by masking techniques. All methods of measuring responsiveness to bitter ligands—in animal models, through human psychophysics, or with “electronic tongues”—have limitations. Conclusions Better-tasting medications may enhance pediatric adherence to drug therapy. Sugars, acids, salt, and other substances reduce perceived bitterness of several pharmaceuticals, and although pleasant flavorings may help children consume some medicines, they often are not effective in suppressing bitter tastes. Further development of psychophysical tools for children will help us better understand their sensory worlds. Multiple testing strategies will help us refine methods to assess acceptance and compliance/adherence by various pediatric populations. Research involving animal models, in which the gustatory system can be more invasively manipulated, can elucidate mechanisms, ultimately providing potential targets. These approaches, combined with new technologies and guided by findings from clinical studies, will potentially lead to effective ways to enhance drug acceptance and compliance in pediatric populations.
Little is known about how specific genes influence taste function in mammals. One of the most promising ways to fill this void is to screen the progeny of chemically mutagenized (or genetically altered) mice for aberrant taste phenotypes and then identify the mutated gene(s) that is associated with each taste anomaly. To exploit this approach, a high-throughput and robust screening procedure is needed. We have attempted to meet this demand by developing an automated procedure that assesses taste responsiveness of individual mice to palatable and unpalatable taste stimuli. We focused on three taste stimuli (quinine hydrochloride, QHCl; sodium chloride, NaCl; and sucrose) and one mouse strain (C57BL/6). We used a commercially available gustometer system that both monitors the licking responses of mice and controls the presentation of each taste stimulus during successive 5 s trials. We describe a screening procedure that (after 2 days of simple training) can generate a concentration-response curve for NaCl or sucrose during a single 30 min test session, and for QHCl over three 30 min test sessions. A normative database based on the responses of 98 mice subjected to our screening procedure is also presented. We envision that investigators could use this normative database to assess taste function in the progeny of mutagenized (or genetically altered) mice. Any mouse that deviates significantly-e.g. three standard deviations (SD)-from the mean of the normative database would be flagged as having a potentially interesting mutation. We also developed an additional second screen for identifying mice with oromotor abnormalities. This latter screen is necessary because oromotor problems could lead to false positives or negatives in the screen for taste function, but is also useful for researchers interested in genes influencing oromotor circuitry. Throughout the development of the screening protocol, we sought to balance two conflicting demands: the need to maximize the screen's sensitivity and minimize its duration. This screen represents a significant improvement over the common two-bottle preference test because it assesses taste function more specifically and in a fraction of the time.
The process by which the mammalian nervous system represents the features of a sapid stimulus that lead to a perception of taste quality has long been controversial. The labeled-line (sparse coding) view differs from the across-neuron pattern (ensemble) counterpoint in proposing that activity in a given class of neurons is necessary and sufficient to generate a specific taste perception. This article critically reviews molecular, electro-physiological, and behavioral findings that bear on the issue. In the peripheral gustatory system, the authors conclude that most qualities appear to be signaled by labeled lines; however, elements of both types of coding characterize signaling of sodium salts. Given the heterogeneity of neuronal tuning functions in the brain, the central coding mechanism is less clear. Both sparse coding and neuronal ensemble models remain viable possibilities. Furthermore, temporal patterns of discharge could contribute additional information. Ultimately, until specific classes of neurons can be selectively manipulated and perceptual consequences assessed, it will be difficult to go beyond mere correlation and conclusively discern the validity of these coding models.
Gastric bypass surgery resulted in the selective reduction of the reward value of a sweet and fat tastant. This application of the progressive ratio task provided an objective and reliable evaluation of taste-driven motivated behavior for food stimuli after obesity surgery.
The T1R2 and T1R3 proteins are expressed in taste receptor cells and form a heterodimer binding with compounds described as sweet by humans. We examined whether Polycose taste might be mediated through this heterodimer by testing T1R2 knockout (KO) and T1R3 KO mice and their wild-type (WT) littermate controls in a series of brief-access taste tests (25-min sessions with 5-s trials). Sucrose, Na-saccharin, and Polycose were each tested for three consecutive sessions with order of presentation varied among subgroups in a Latin-Square manner. Both KO groups displayed blunted licking responses and initiated significantly fewer trials of sucrose and Na-saccharin across a range of concentrations. KO mice tested after Polycose exposure demonstrated some degree of concentration-dependent licking of sucrose, likely attributable to learning related to prior postingestive experience. These results are consistent with prior findings in the literature, implicating the T1R2+3 heterodimer as the principal taste receptor for sweet-tasting ligands, and also provide support for the potential of postingestive experience to influence responding in the KO mice. In contrast, T1R2 KO and T1R3 KO mice displayed concentration-dependent licking responses to Polycose that tracked those of their WT controls and in some cases licked midrange concentrations more; the number of Polycose trials initiated overall did not differ between KO and WT mice. Thus, the T1R2 and T1R3 proteins are individually unnecessary for normal concentration-dependent licking of Polycose to be expressed in a brief-access test. Whether at least one of these T1R protein subunits is necessary for normal Polycose responsiveness remains untested. Alternatively, there may be a novel taste receptor(s) that mediates polysaccharide taste.
Amiloride, an epithelial sodium channel blocker, suppresses the responsiveness of narrowly tuned sodium-responsive taste afferents when orally applied in the rat. Broadly tuned salt-responsive taste afferents, which respond to sodium and nonsodium salts and acids, are relatively unaffected by the drug. We used amiloride treatment to examine the consequences of the specific removal of input from narrowly tuned sodium-responsive afferents on taste discrimination. Five water-restricted rats were trained in a gustometer to press one lever after licking NaCl and another lever after licking KCl across a range of concentrations (0.05, 0.1, and 0.2 M). Correct responses were rewarded with brief water access, and incorrect responses were punished with a time-out. After training, animals averaged about 90% correct responses and maintained competent performance during subsequent control sessions. Amiloride was then placed in all solutions at a given concentration (1-100 microM) for single test sessions. Control sessions were interposed between amiloride sessions. At high amiloride concentrations, overall responding was reduced to 50% correct and progressively improved as the drug concentration was lowered. The sigmoidal dose-response functions corresponded quantitatively with electrophysiological findings. Performance deficits occurred primarily with NaCl and were concentration dependent; performance during KCl trials was relatively undisturbed by amiloride adulteration. At high amiloride concentrations, rats treated NaCl as if it were KCl. Given that amiloride is tasteless to the rat, these results provide convincing evidence of the importance of narrowly tuned afferents in the discrimination between sodium and nonsodium salts and suggest that this is a general coding principle in the gustatory system.
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