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Sunday 01 May 2005

Taste discrimination between NaCl and KCl is disrupted by amiloride in inbred mice with amiloride-insensitive chorda tympani nerves.

By: Eylam S, Spector AC.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2005 May;288(5):R1361-8

The amiloride-sensitive salt transduction pathway is thought to be critical for the discrimination between sodium and nonsodium salts in rodents. In rats, lingual application of amiloride appears to render NaCl qualitatively indistinguishable from KCl. In this study, we tested four strains of mice for salt discriminability. In one strain (C57BL/6J), chorda tympani nerve (CT) responses to NaCl are attenuated by amiloride, and in the other three strains (BALB/cByJ, 129P3/J, DBA/2J) they are not. Under water-restriction conditions, these mice (7 mice/strain) were trained in a gustometer to lick for water from one reinforcement spout in response to a five-lick presentation of NaCl and to lick from another in response to KCl [salt concentration was varied (0.1-1 M) to render intensity irrelevant]. Mice were then tested with the stimuli dissolved in amiloride hydrochloride, and the latter was used as the reinforcer as well. Each concentration of amiloride (0.1-100 microM) was used on 2 separate days with control sessions interposed. Mice from all four strains were able to discriminate NaCl from KCl reliably. Amiloride impaired this discrimination in a dose-dependent fashion. Moreover, performance on NaCl trials appeared to be more affected by amiloride than that on KCl trials in all four strains. Thus, in contrast to the predictions based on CT recordings, discrimination in all four strains appeared to depend on the amiloride-sensitive transduction pathway, which, in the case of BALB/cByJ, 129P3/J, and DBA/2J (and perhaps C57BL/6 as well), may exist in taste buds innervated by nerves other than the CT.

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