Understanding brain pathways and neurotransmitter systems that regulate ingestion is essential to development of pharmacological tools to help patients regulate food intake. Taste is a major factor driving over‐eating so it is important to understand the neurotransmitter systems involved in early transmission of taste information to the brain. The experiments in this proposal will test the proposition that good‐tasting (appetitive) foods, i.e. those rich in sugars and glutamate, activate neurochemically distinct circuits in the brainstem taste relay nuclei than do unpleasant‐tasting (aversive) tastes. The experiments rely on induced expression of the immediate‐early gene, c‐fos, as a marker of taste‐activated neurons. We will compare neuronal populations activated by appetitive substances to those activated by aversive (bitter, sour) ones and how these neuronal populations correlate with specific feeding‐related neuropeptide and transmitter systems of the brainstem taste relay nuclei. In addition, we will study whether taste quality representation in the brainstem is altered in mice with induced dysfunction (genetic knockout) in the detection of particular tastes. Finally, we will test whether neuronal activation in the primary taste nucleus is related to specific connectivity with taste axons contacting taste cells ?tuned? to detect sweet and umami qualities.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the USA and throughout much of the industrialized world. Understanding brain pathways and neuronal messenger molecules that regulate ingestion is essential to development of pharmacological tools to help patients reduce food intake. The proposed studies will determine what neuronal messenger molecules are utilized by the taste system in the detection of good‐tasting foods.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
High Priority, Short Term Project Award (R56)
Project #
5R56DC000147-30
Application #
8303050
Study Section
Somatosensory and Chemosensory Systems Study Section (SCS)
Program Officer
Sullivan, Susan L
Project Start
1979-03-01
Project End
2013-06-30
Budget Start
2012-07-01
Budget End
2013-06-30
Support Year
30
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$191,250
Indirect Cost
$66,250
Name
University of Colorado Denver
Department
Biology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
041096314
City
Aurora
State
CO
Country
United States
Zip Code
80045
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Bartel, Dianna L (2012) Glial responses after chorda tympani nerve injury. J Comp Neurol 520:2712-29