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Sunday 01 June 2003

Oral amiloride treatment decreases taste sensitivity to sodium salts in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice.

By: Eylam S, Spector AC.

Chem Senses 2003 Jun;28(5):447-58

Sodium taste transduction is thought to occur via an amiloride-sensitive, sodium-selective pathway and an amiloride-insensitive, cation nonselective, anion-dependent pathway(s). It has been shown by others that amiloride, an epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) blocker, significantly reduces the chorda tympani nerve response to lingually applied NaCl in C57BL/6 (B6) mice but not in DBA/2 (D2) mice, suggesting that the latter strain might not possess functional ENaCs in taste receptor cells. We psychophysically measured and compared taste detection thresholds of NaCl and sodium gluconate (NaGlu) prepared with and without 100 microM amiloride in these two strains (eight/strain). Mice were trained and tested in a two-response operant signal detection procedure conducted in a gustometer. Surprisingly, no strain effect was found for the detection thresholds of both salts (approximately 0.05-0.06 M). Moreover, these thresholds were increased by almost an order of magnitude by amiloride adulteration of the solutions. This marked effect of amiloride on sodium detection thresholds suggests that ENaCs are necessary for normal sensitivity to sodium salts in both strains. In addition, because NaGlu is thought to stimulate primarily the amiloride-sensitive pathway, especially at low concentrations, the similarity of NaCl and NaGlu thresholds (r > 0.81 both strains) suggests that ENaCs are also sufficient to support the detection of sodium in weak solutions by B6 and D2 mice.

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