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Brain Res. 1986 Feb 19;365(2):305-20.

Convergence of lingual and palatal gustatory neural activity in the nucleus of the solitary tract.


The responses of 54 neurons to independent sapid stimulation of 4 taste receptor subpopulations associated with: (1) anterior tongue; (2) nasoincisor ducts; (3) soft palate; and (4) foliate papillae were recorded from the nucleus of the solitary tract (NST) of the Rat. Neurons responding to stimulation of receptor subpopulations in the anterior oral cavity (anterior tongue or nasoincisor ducts) were located more rostrally in the NST than neurons responding to stimulation of receptor subpopulations in the posterior oral cavity (soft palate or foliate papillae). Half of the sampled neurons responded exclusively to stimulation of one receptor subpopulation with the remaining neurons responsive to stimulation of two or more receptor subpopulations. The most common pattern of convergence observed was between responses arising from stimulation of the taste buds on the anterior tongue and those associated with the nasoincisor ducts of the hard palate. The sensitivity of NST neurons to anterior tongue and nasoincisor duct stimulation with the 4 standard taste stimuli was determined. When stimulating the anterior tongue, the order of effectiveness was NaCl greater than HCl greater than sucrose greater than quinine hydrochloride (QHCl). When the nasoincisor ducts were tested, however, the order of stimulus effectiveness was strikingly different: sucrose was the best stimulus, followed by HCl, NaCl, and QHCl. If both the anterior tongue and nasoincisor ducts are included, stimulation of taste receptors in the anterior oral cavity of the rat produces good responses to stimuli representing 3 of the 4 classical taste qualities: sweet, salty, and sour.

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