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Thursday 15 May 2003

Recovery of amiloride-sensitive neural coding during regeneration of the gustatory nerve: behavioral-neural correlation of salt taste discrimination.

By: Yasumatsu K, Katsukawa H, Sasamoto K, Ninomiya Y.

J Neurosci 2003 May 15;23(10):4362-8

The chorda tympani (CT) nerve innervating the anterior tongue contains two types of NaCl-responsive fibers: one, the N-type, receives input from receptor cells, the NaCl responses of which are strongly inhibited by amiloride, whereas the other, the E-type, receives input from cells poorly sensitive or insensitive to amiloride. To investigate the formation of this differentially responsive neural system, we crushed the mouse CT nerve and examined the subsequent recovery of NaCl responses and amiloride sensitivity of the regenerated nerve and behavioral discrimination between NaCl and KCl. At 2 weeks after the nerve crush, no significant response of the nerve to chemical stimuli was observed. At 3 weeks, responses to salts gradually reappeared. In this period, almost all single fibers responding to NaCl were insensitive to amiloride (E-type). At 4 weeks, some of the single fibers showed amiloride sensitivity (N-type) and behavioral discrimination between NaCl and KCl reappeared. After >or=5 weeks, the number of N-type fibers had reached the control level and became approximately equal to that of E-type fibers. During the course of recovery, N-type and E-type fibers were clearly distinguishable on the basis of their amiloride sensitivities, their KCl/NaCl response ratios, and their concentration-response relationships to NaCl. These results suggest that two salt-responsive systems are independently reformed after the nerve crush. The selective synapse reformation may account for recovery of behavioral discrimination between NaCl and KCl after taste nerve crush and regeneration. It may also explain stable sensory coding for taste quality during the continuous turnover of receptor cells in the healthy animal.

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