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Front Neurosci. 2011 Mar 3;5:23. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00023. eCollection 2011.

Sensing via intestinal sweet taste pathways.

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Discipline of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide Adelaide, SA, Australia.


The detection of nutrients in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is of fundamental significance to the control of motility, glycemia and energy intake, and yet we barely know the most fundamental aspects of this process. This is in stark contrast to the mechanisms underlying the detection of lingual taste, which have been increasingly well characterized in recent years, and which provide an excellent starting point for characterizing nutrient detection in the intestine. This review focuses on the form and function of sweet taste transduction mechanisms identified in the intestinal tract; it does not focus on sensors for fatty acids or proteins. It examines the intestinal cell types equipped with sweet taste transduction molecules in animals and humans, their location, and potential signals that transduce the presence of nutrients to neural pathways involved in reflex control of GI motility.


carbohydrate absorption; gastric emptying; glucose sensing; small intestine; sweet taste molecules; vagal afferents

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