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Brain Res. 2012 Sep 14;1473:131-40. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.07.051. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Gustatory perception alterations in obesity: an fMRI study.

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Institute of Physiology and Neurophysiology Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pécs University, Medical School, Hungary.


The background of feeding associated and metabolic diseases is not sufficiently understood yet. Since gustatory alterations may be of particular significance in the above illnesses, in the present experiments, cerebral activation was detected by fMRI in twelve obese patients and twelve, age and gender matched healthy subjects. The gustatory stimulus solutions were delivered via intraorally positioned polyvinyl tubes. Each session consisted of three runs. Sucrose was used as a pleasant; quinine HCl as an aversive; and a high-calorie, vanilla flavored nourishment solution as a complex taste of high palatability. In each run, only one taste was used as a stimulus. During all runs, distilled water served as a neutral stimulus. Group analysis was made by using the FSL software package. The taste stimuli elicited characteristic and distinct activity changes of the two groups. In contrast to the controls, in the obese patients, stronger activation was detected in various cortical (anterior cingulate cortex, insular and opercular cortices, orbitofrontal cortex) and subcortical (amygdala, nucleus accumbens, putamen and pallidum) structures in case of all three stimuli. The present examinations elucidated differential activation of various brain structures to pleasant and unpleasant gustatory stimuli in obese patients compared to control subjects. These taste alterations are supposed to be of particular significance in obesity, and our findings may contribute to develop better strategies for prevention and effective therapies in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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