Perceptual variation may represent an important aspect of genetic differences in human ingestive behavior (eg why we choose to eat and drink some foods and beverages but not others). This proposal represents a collaborative effort between investigators in chemosensory psychophysics, and molecular and quantitative behavioral genetics to examine how genetic variation in taste and pain receptors in the mouth may alter response to oral irritants that are commonly found in the food supply. Here, we propose a laboratory study to quantify the impact of variation in specific genes on the sensations that arise from capsaicin (the compound responsible for the heat of 'hot'peppers), piperine (the compound responsible for the burn of black pepper) and ethanol. Previously, we found capsaicin and piperine are bitter to some individuals but not others. Now, we ask if genetic variation in bitter taste genes can explain why. Analyses under Specific Aims 1-3 will determine if common polymorphisms (alternative forms of a gene) for the TRPV1 receptor predict differential response to the burning sensations from these irritants. Secondary aims test if certain variants of bitter taste genes can explain differences in the bitterness of these irritants. Important covariates include frequency of spicy food intake, personality factors (novelty seeking, and sensation seeking) and underlying differences in the intensity of oral sensations (supertasting). At the conclusion of this project, we will have produced a body of valuable data addressing the contribution of genetic polymorphisms on the burn and bitterness of oral irritants. Better understanding of the biology behind irritancy and bitterness will inform attempts to develop methods to block or mask these sensations and potentially remove palatability as a barrier to medication compliance. Proposed work may also provide new insight with respect to food choice behavior or causes of oral pathologies that involve burning sensations.

Public Health Relevance

Taste is the main gatekeeper of ingestion: humans generally swallow what they like and reject what they don't, and what is liked may differ with genetics. This research examines whether the burning and bitterness from natural chemicals found in common spices are related to genetic differences in perception. Better understanding of the basic biology behind bitterness and irritancy will help us understand the dietary choices individuals make, and may help us tailor diets that improve health and wellness while remaining enjoyable to eat.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Small Research Grants (R03)
Project #
5R03DC010904-02
Application #
8248193
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZDC1-SRB-Q (65))
Program Officer
Sullivan, Susan L
Project Start
2011-04-01
Project End
2014-03-31
Budget Start
2012-04-01
Budget End
2013-03-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$156,711
Indirect Cost
$50,394
Name
Pennsylvania State University
Department
Nutrition
Type
Schools of Earth Sciences/Natur
DUNS #
003403953
City
University Park
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
16802
Byrnes, Nadia K; Hayes, John E (2016) Behavioral measures of risk tasking, sensation seeking and sensitivity to reward may reflect different motivations for spicy food liking and consumption. Appetite 103:411-22
Nolden, Alissa A; McGeary, John E; Hayes, John E (2016) Differential bitterness in capsaicin, piperine, and ethanol associates with polymorphisms in multiple bitter taste receptor genes. Physiol Behav 156:117-27
Fleming, Erin E; Ziegler, Gregory R; Hayes, John E (2016) Salivary protein levels as a predictor of perceived astringency in model systems and solid foods. Physiol Behav 163:56-63
Bakke, Alyssa J; Shehan, Catherine V; Hayes, John E (2016) Type of milk typically consumed, and stated preference, but not health consciousness affect revealed preferences for fat in milk. Food Qual Prefer 49:92-99
Byrnes, Nadia K; Hayes, John E (2015) Gender differences in the influence of personality traits on spicy food liking and intake. Food Qual Prefer 42:12-19
Byrnes, Nadia; Loss, Christopher R; Hayes, John E (2015) Perception of chemesthetic stimuli in groups who differ by food involvement and culinary experience. Food Qual Prefer 46:142-150
Hayes, John E (2015) An introduction to this Special Issue: Chemosensation and Health. Chemosens Percept 8:109-111
Nolden, Alissa A; Hayes, John E (2015) Perceptual Qualities of Ethanol Depend on Concentration, and Variation in These Percepts Associates with Drinking Frequency. Chemosens Percept 8:149-157
Byrnes, Nadia; Nestrud, Michael A; Hayes, John E (2015) Perceptual mapping of chemesthetic stimuli in naïve assessors. Chemosens Percept 8:19-32
Coupland, John N; Hayes, John E (2014) Physical approaches to masking bitter taste: lessons from food and pharmaceuticals. Pharm Res 31:2921-39

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