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Wednesday 01 June 2005

Ethanol modulates the VR-1 variant amiloride-insensitive salt taste receptor. II. Effect on chorda tympani salt responses.

By: Lyall V, Heck GL, Phan TH, Mummalaneni S, Malik SA, Vinnikova AK, Desimone JA.

J Gen Physiol 2005 Jun;125(6):587-600

The effect of ethanol on the amiloride- and benzamil (Bz)-insensitive salt taste receptor was investigated by direct measurement of intracellular Na(+) activity ([Na(+)](i)) using fluorescence imaging in polarized fungiform taste receptor cells (TRCs) and by chorda tympani (CT) taste nerve recordings. CT responses to KCl and NaCl were recorded in Sprague-Dawley rats, and in wild-type (WT) and vanilloid receptor-1 (VR-1) knockout mice (KO). CT responses were monitored in the presence of Bz, a specific blocker of the epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC). CT responses were also recorded in the presence of agonists (resiniferatoxin and elevated temperature) and antagonists (capsazepine and SB-366791) of VR-1 that similarly modulate the Bz-insensitive VR-1 variant salt taste receptor. In the absence of mineral salts, ethanol induced a transient decrease in TRC volume and elicited only transient phasic CT responses. In the presence of mineral salts, ethanol increased the apical cation flux in TRCs without a change in volume, increased transepithelial electrical resistance across the tongue, and elicited CT responses that were similar to salt responses, consisting of both a phasic component and a sustained tonic component. At concentrations <50%, ethanol enhanced responses to KCl and NaCl, while at ethanol concentrations >50%, those CT responses were inhibited. Resiniferatoxin and elevated temperature increased the sensitivity of the CT response to ethanol in salt-containing media, and SB-366791 inhibited the effect of ethanol, resiniferatoxin, and elevated temperature on the CT responses to mineral salts. VR-1 KO mice demonstrated no Bz-insensitive CT response to NaCl and no sensitivity to ethanol. We conclude that ethanol increases salt taste sensitivity by its direct action on the Bz-insensitive VR-1 variant salt taste receptor.

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