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J Neurophysiol. 1997 Feb;77(2):978-93.

Primate sense of taste: behavioral and single chorda tympani and glossopharyngeal nerve fiber recordings in the rhesus monkey, Macaca mulatta.

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University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


The responses of 51 chorda tympani proper (CT) and 33 glossopharyngeal (NG) neural taste units from the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) were recorded during stimulation of either the anterior (CT) or posterior (NG) part of the tongue with 26 stimuli that taste salty, umami, sour, bitter, and sweet to humans. In the CT, hierarchical cluster analysis separated four major clusters. The N and S clusters were most populous, followed by the H cluster and a small Q cluster. NaCl, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and MSG with guanosine 5'-monophosphate were the best stimuli in the N cluster. Amiloride suppressed responses to NaCl. KCl did not stimulate fibers from this cluster. S cluster fibers were characterized by strong responses to all sweeteners. The H cluster responded best to acids but also to some of the sweeteners such as xylitol, fructose, and sucrose. Q fibers responded well to quinine hydrochloride (QHCl) and caffeine, but not to denatonium benzoate. In the NG, hierarchical cluster analysis separated three major clusters. Q fibers formed the largest cluster. QHCl, caffeine, and sucrose octa-acetate but not denatonium benzoate elicited very strong responses in these fibers. S fibers formed a second cluster. Although most of the sweeteners stimulated the S fibers, their responses were not so pronounced as in CT S fibers. The small M cluster was formed by fibers that responded best to MSG. They also responded to NaCl and acids. Two bottle preference tests showed a positive relationship between a sweetener's ability to stimulate the taste fibers and the animals' consumption. Thus the most-liked sweeteners stimulated the S cluster fibers of CT best, whereas less-liked sweeteners such as D-phenylalanine elicited a response in Q fibers and sodium cyclamate stimulated N fibers. The results show that both CT and NG taste fibers of M. mulatta group according to the human concepts of taste qualities.

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