Amiloride-sensitive and amiloride-insensitive responses to NaCl + acid mixtures in hamster chorda tympani nerve

Formaker, B.K.; Hettinger, T.P.; Savoy, L.D.; Frank, M.E.

Chemical Senses 37(7): 603-612


ISSN/ISBN: 1464-3553
PMID: 22451526
DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjs042
Accession: 051455461

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Component signaling in taste mixtures containing both beneficial and dangerous chemicals depends on peripheral processing. Unidirectional mixture suppression of chorda tympani (CT) nerve responses to sucrose by quinine and acid is documented for golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). To investigate mixtures of NaCl and acids, we recorded multifiber responses to 50 mM NaCl, 1 and 3 mM citric acid and acetic acid, 250 μM citric acid, 20 mM acetic acid, and all binary combinations of each acid with NaCl (with and without 30 μM amiloride added). By blocking epithelial Na(+) channels, amiloride treatment separated amiloride-sensitive NaCl-specific responses from amiloride-insensitive electrolyte-generalist responses, which encompass all of the CT response to the acids as well as responses to NaCl. Like CT sucrose responses, the amiloride-sensitive NaCl responses were suppressed by as much as 50% by citric acid (P = 0.001). The amiloride-insensitive electrolyte-generalist responses to NaCl + acid mixtures approximated the sum of NaCl and acid component responses. Thus, although NaCl-specific responses to NaCl were weakened in NaCl-acid mixtures, electrolyte-generalist responses to acid and NaCl, which tastes KCl-like, were transmitted undiminished in intensity to the central nervous system. The 2 distinct CT pathways are consistent with known rodent behavioral discriminations.