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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Nov 2023 - 10 Nov 2023

2023 Nov 02

Sci Rep




Altered peripheral taste function in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease.


Dong G, Boothe K, He L, Shi Y, McCluskey LP


Increased sugar intake and taste dysfunction have been reported in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic disorder characterized by diarrhea, pain, weight loss and fatigue. It was previously unknown whether taste function changes in mouse models of IBD. Mice consumed dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) during three 7-day cycles to induce chronic colitis. DSS-treated mice displayed signs of disease, including significant weight loss, diarrhea, loss of colon architecture, and inflammation of the colon. After the last DSS cycle we assessed taste function by recording electrophysiological responses from the chorda tympani (CT) nerve, which transmits activity from lingual taste buds to the brain. DSS treatment significantly reduced neural taste responses to natural and artificial sweeteners. Responses to carbohydrate, salt, sour or bitter tastants were unaffected in mice with colitis, but umami responses were modestly elevated. DSS treatment modulated the expression of receptor subunits that transduce sweet and umami stimuli in oral taste buds as a substrate for functional changes. Dysregulated systemic cytokine responses or dysbiosis that occurs during chronic colitis may be upstream from changes in oral taste buds. We demonstrate for the first time that colitis alters taste input to the brain, which could exacerbate malnutrition in IBD patients.