Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gen Physiol. 1984 May;83(5):633-56.

The active ion transport properties of canine lingual epithelia in vitro. Implications for gustatory transduction.


The electrophysiological properties of the dorsal and ventral canine lingual epithelium are studied in vitro. The dorsal epithelium contains a special ion transport system activated by mucosal solutions hyperosmotic in NaCl or LiCl. Hyperosmotic KCl is significantly less effective as an activator of this system. The lingual frenulum does not contain the transport system. In the dorsal surface it is characterized by a rapid increase in inward current and can be quantitated as a second component in the time course of either the open-circuit potential or short-circuit current when the mucosal solution is hyperosmotic in NaCl or LiCl. The increased inward current (hyperosmotic response) can be eliminated by amiloride (10(-4) M). The specific location of this transport system in the dorsal surface and the fact that it operates over the concentration range characteristic of mammalian salt taste suggests a possible link to gustatory transduction. This possibility is tested by recording neural responses in the rat to NaCl and KCl over a concentration range including the hyperosmotic. We demonstrate that amiloride specifically blocks the response to NaCl over the hyperosmotic range while affecting the KCl response significantly less. The results suggest that gustatory transduction for NaCl is mediated by Na entry into the taste cells via the same amiloride-sensitive pathway responsible for the hyperosmotic response in vitro. Further studies of the in vitro system give evidence for paracellular as well as transcellular current paths. The transmural current-voltage relations are linear under both symmetrical and asymmetrical conditions. After ouabain treatment under symmetrical conditions, the short-circuit current decays to zero. The increase in resistance, though significant, is small, which suggests a sizeable shunt pathway for current. Flux measurements show that sodium is absorbed under symmetrical conditions. Mucosal solutions hyperosmotic in various sugars also induce an amiloride-sensitive inward current. In summary, this work provides evidence that the sodium taste receptor is most probably a sodium transport system, specifically adapted to the dorsal surface of the tongue. The transport paradigm of gustation also suggests a simple model for electric taste and possible mechanisms for sweet taste.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk