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J Neurophysiol. 1991 Jun;65(6):1372-80.

Coding the sweet taste in the nucleus of the solitary tract: differential roles for anterior tongue and nasoincisor duct gustatory receptors in the rat.

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  • 1Section of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


1. A variety of chemicals that humans describe as sweet drive neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NST) of the rat more vigorously when applied to the taste receptors associated with the nasoincisor ducts (NID) than when applied to taste receptors on the anterior tongue (AT). 2. The differential effects of sweet stimuli applied to the AT and NID also are evident in the set of across-neuron correlations produced by these stimuli. The psychophysical similarity among the sweet stimuli is better accounted for by responses to stimulation of the NID than by responses to stimulation of the AT (mean correlation between pairs of sweet stimuli = +0.70 for the NID, +0.44 for the AT). 3. Disaccharides or polysaccharides of glucose, i.e., maltose (0.3 M) and Polycose (0.1 M), are poor stimuli on the NID, evoking responses only 17.8 and 26.7% as great as the response elicited by sucrose (0.3 M), an optimal stimulus for this receptor subpopulation. This suggests that Polycose and maltose interact with receptor sites distinct from those with an affinity for sweet stimuli. Polycose and maltose also are ineffective stimuli on the AT, evoking responses only 11.8 and 4.9% as large as the response evoked by an optimal stimulus for this receptor subpopulation, a mixture of electrolytes (0.3 M NaCl, 0.03 M HCl, and 0.01 M quinine HCl). 4. The relative effectiveness of the sweet sugars in driving NST neurons (sucrose greater than fructose greater than glucose) correlates with their order of effectiveness in generating preference behavior in the rat.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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