The sense of taste helps humans to obtain information and form a picture of the world by recognizing chemicals in their environments. Over the past decade, large advances have been made in understanding the mechanisms of taste detection and mimicking its capability using artificial sensor devices. However, the detection capability of previous artificial taste sensors has been far inferior to that of animal tongues, in terms of its sensitivity and selectivity. Herein, we developed a bioelectronic tongue using heterodimeric human sweet taste receptors for the detection and discrimination of sweeteners with human-like performance, where single-walled carbon nanotube field-effect transistors were functionalized with nanovesicles containing human sweet taste receptors and used to detect the binding of sweeteners to the taste receptors. The receptors are heterodimeric G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) composed of human taste receptor type 1 member 2 (hTAS1R2) and human taste receptor type 1 member 3 (hTAS1R3), which have multiple binding sites and allow a human tongue-like broad selectivity for the detection of sweeteners. This nanovesicle-based bioelectronic tongue can be a powerful tool for the detection of sweeteners as an alternative to labor-intensive and time-consuming cell-based assays and the sensory evaluation panels used in the food and beverage industry. Furthermore, this study also allows the artificial sensor to exam the functional activity of dimeric GPCRs.
The incidence of chronic oral pain such as burning mouth syndrome is greater in peri-menopausal females, and was postulated to be associated with gustatory nerve damage. We investigated whether bilateral transection of the chorda tympani, with or without accompanying ovariectomy, affected oral capsaicin avoidance in rats. Female rats had restricted access to 2 bottles, 1 bottle containing capsaicin (concentration range: 0.33-33 ?M/L) and the other vehicle. Percent volume of capsaicin consumption and lick counts were measured. The concentration series was tested before and 0.5, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after the following surgical procedures: (a) bilateral transection of the chorda tympani (CTx); (b) ovariectomy (OVx); (3) CTx plus OVx; or (4) sham CT surgery. Before surgery there was a concentration-dependent decrease in licks and volume of capsaicin consumed, with a threshold between 0.1 and 0.3 ppm. The majority of drink licks occurred during the first 9 minutes of access. Over the 12-month test period, the CTx group did not exhibit reduced capsaicin consumption, and consumed significantly more capsaicin at 6 and 9 months postsurgery. Rats in the OVx group consistently consumed significantly less capsaicin and exhibited significantly higher counts of capsaicin-evoked Fos-like immunoreactivity in the dorsomedial trigeminal subnucleus caudalis (Vc) compared to all other treatment groups. That CTx, with or without OVx, did not enhance capsaicin avoidance indicates that damage to the gustatory system does not disinhibit trigeminal nociceptive transmission.
To determine the number, variability, and distribution of pelvic lymph nodes to better understand the utility of the node count as a surrogate for the dissection extent. Although pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) at radical cystectomy for bladder cancer is critical for disease control and staging, debate regarding the measurement of dissection adequacy remains. Many have proposed minimum node counts, yet an anatomic study assessing the number and variability of lymph nodes in the PLND templates is lacking.
We presently investigated 2 novel menthol derivatives GIV1 and GIV2, which exhibit strong cooling effects. In previous human psychophysical studies, GIV1 delivered in a toothpaste medium elicited a cooling sensation that was longer lasting compared with GIV2 and menthol carboxamide (WS-3). In the current study, we investigated the molecular and cellular effects of these cooling agents. In calcium flux studies of TRPM8 expressed in HEK cells, both GIV1 and GIV2 were approximately 40- to 200-fold more potent than menthol and WS-3. GIV1 and GIV2 also activated TRPA1 but at levels that were 400 times greater than those required for TRPM8 activation. In calcium imaging studies, subpopulations of cultured rat trigeminal ganglion and dorsal root ganglion cells responded to GIV1 and/or GIV2; the majority of these were also activated by menthol and some were additionally activated by the TRPA1 agonist cinnamaldehyde and/or the TRPV1 agonist capsaicin. We also made in vivo single-unit recordings from cold-sensitive neurons in rat trigeminal subnucleus caudalis (Vc). GIV 1 and GIV2 directly excited some Vc neurons, GIV1 significantly enhanced their responses to cooling, and both GIV1 and GIV2 reduced responses to noxious heat. These novel cooling compounds provide additional molecular tools to investigate the neural processes of cold sensation.
Szechuan peppers contain hydroxy-?-sanshool that imparts desirable tingling, cooling, and numbing sensations. Hydroxy-?-sanshool activates a subset of sensory dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons by inhibiting two-pore potassium channels. We presently investigated if a tingle-evoking sanshool analog, isobutylalkenyl amide (IBA), excites rat DRG neurons and, if so, if these neurons are also activated by agonists of TRPM8, TRPA1, and/or TRPV1. Thirty-four percent of DRG neurons tested responded to IBA, with 29% of them also responding to menthol, 29% to cinnamic aldehyde, 66% to capsaicin, and subsets responding to two or more transient receptor potential (TRP) agonists. IBA-responsive cells had similar size distributions regardless of whether they responded to capsaicin or not; cells only responsive to IBA were larger. Responses to repeated application of IBA at a 5-min interstimulus interval exhibited self-desensitization (tachyphylaxis). Capsaicin did not cross-desensitize responses to IBA to any greater extent than the tachyphylaxis observed with repeated IBA applications. These findings are consistent with psychophysical observations that IBA elicits tingle sensation accompanied by pungency and cooling, with self-desensitization but little cross-desensitization by capsaicin. Intraplantar injection of IBA elicited nocifensive responses (paw licking, shaking-flinching, and guarding) in a dose-related manner similar to the effects of intraplantar capsaicin and serotonin. IBA had no effect on thermal sensitivity but enhanced mechanical sensitivity at the highest dose tested. These observations suggest that IBA elicits an unfamiliar aversive sensation that is expressed behaviorally by the limited response repertoire available to the animal.
A marked peripheral blood eosinophilia is an uncommon finding in a complete blood count (CBC). According to Wardlaw and Kay (Eosinophils and Their Disorders. In: Beutler E, Lichtman MA, Coller BS, Kipps TJ, Seligsohn U, editors. Williams Hematology. 6(th) ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001. p. 790-93), the most common causes are infection by helminthic parasites, atopic disease, and, less commonly, primary hypereosinophilic syndromes. Therefore, when eosinophilia is seen in a CBC, it can provide an important clue to the correct diagnosis. We present a case of a patient with a finding of pulmonary nodules in the setting of cancer and a CBC finding of profound peripheral blood eosinophilia. As a result of the high level of clinical suspicion for Coccidioides infection due in part to the eosinophilia, adequate steps were taken in the clinical laboratory not only to correctly diagnosis the patient, but also to protect the laboratory staff from work-related exposure to this easily aerosolizable infectious agent.
In the present study, we explored the conditions under which color-generated expectations influence participants identification of flavored drinks. Four experiments were conducted in which the degree of discrepancy between the expected identity of a flavor (derived from the color of a drink) and the actual identity of the flavor (derived from orthonasal olfactory cues) was examined. Using a novel experimental approach that controlled for individual differences in color-flavor associations, we first measured the flavor expectations held by each individual and only then examined whether the same individuals identification responses were influenced by his or her own expectations. Under conditions of low discrepancy, the perceived disparity between the expected and the actual flavor identities was small. When a particular color--identified by participants as one that generated a strong flavor expectation--was added to these drinks (as compared with when no such color was added), a significantly greater proportion of identification responses were consistent with this expectation. This held true even when participants were explicitly told that color would be an uninformative cue and were given as much time as desired to complete the task. By contrast, under conditions of high discrepancy, adding the same colors to the drinks no longer had the same effect on participants identification responses. Critically, there was a significant difference in the proportion of responses that were consistent with participants color-based expectations in conditions of low as compared with high discrepancy, indicating that the degree of discrepancy between an individuals actual and expected experience can significantly affect the extent to which color influences judgments of flavor identity.
Variation in taste perception of different chemical substances is a well-known phenomenon in both humans and animals. Recent advances in the understanding of sweet taste signaling have identified a number of proteins involved in this signal transduction. We evaluated the hypothesis that sequence variations occurring in genes encoding taste signaling molecules can influence sweet taste perception in humans. Our population consisted of unrelated individuals (n = 160) of Caucasian, African-American, and Asian descent. Threshold and suprathreshold sensitivities of participants for sucrose were estimated using a sorting test and signal detection analysis that produced cumulative R-index area under the curve (AUC) scores. Genetic association analysis revealed significant correlation of sucrose AUC scores with genetic variation occurring in the GNAT3 gene (single point P = 10(-3) to 10(-4)), which encodes the taste-specific G(alpha) protein subunit gustducin. Subsequent sequencing identified additional GNAT3 variations having significant association with sucrose AUC scores. Collectively, GNAT3 polymorphisms explain 13% of the variation in sucrose perception. Our findings underscore the importance of common genetic variants influencing human taste perception.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion on intermittent running and subsequent performance. Eight healthy men volunteered to take part in the study. One hour after the ingestion of either NaHCO(3) or placebo (sodium chloride; NaCl) participants undertook 20 x 24-second runs on a motorized treadmill at the velocity eliciting maximal oxygen uptake (100% v-VO(2)max). After sprint 20 participants performed a run to volitional exhaustion at 120% v-VO(2)max. Capillary blood samples for blood pH, bicarbonate ([HCO(3)]), and lactate ([Bla]) concentration were taken pre and postingestion, every fifth sprint and after the performance run. After ingestion of NaHCO(3), blood [HCO(3)] increased from resting values (p < 0.05), and the increase in pH approached significance. Blood [HCO(3)(-)] continually decreased throughout intermittent exercise (p < 0.05) and decreased further after performance in both trials (p < 0.05). [Bla] was similar in both trials throughout intermittent exercise but was greater at exhaustion for NaHCO(3) (main effect for trial; p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in performance of the group between trials (78 +/- 22 and 75 +/- 22 seconds for NaHCO(3) and NaCl, respectively). The intercept of the relationships between [Bla] and [HCO(3)(-)] and between [Bla] and pH was greater during NaHCO(3) (p < 0.05), whereas the relationship between pH and [HCO(3)(-)] was unchanged (p > 0.05). The results of this study suggest that the ingestion of NaHCO(3) before intermittent type exercise was sufficient to induce metabolic alkalosis but did not significantly affect performance. However, because significant individual variations in performance were observed, an individual approach to bicarbonate ingestion is recommended based on the intensity and duration of the required performance.
Previous studies investigated the neural and molecular underpinnings of the tingle sensation evoked by sanshool and other natural or synthetic alkylamides. Currently, we sought to characterize the psychophysical properties associated with administration of these compounds. Like other chemesthetic stimuli, the synthetic tingle analog isobutylalkylamide (IBA) evoked a sensation that was temporally dynamic. Repeated IBA application at short (30 sec) interstimulus intervals (ISI) resulted in a tingle sensation that increased across trials. Application at longer ISIs (approximately 30 min) resulted in a sensation of decreased intensity consistent with self-desensitization. Prior treatment with the TRPV1 or TRPA1 agonists, capsaicin and mustard oil did not cross-desensitize the tingle sensation evoked by IBA suggesting that neither TRPV1 nor TRPA1 participate in the transduction mechanism sub-serving tingle. When evaluated over 30-min time period, lingual IBA evoked a sensation that was described initially as tingling and pungent but after approximately 15 min, as a cooling sensation. Further, we found that the sensation evoked by lingual IBA was potentiated by simultaneous application of cold (0 degrees C) and cool (21 degrees C) thermal stimuli but was unaffected by warm (33 degrees C) and hot (41 degrees C) temperatures. Finally, to test the hypothesis that the tingling sensation is subserved by the activation of mechanosensitve fibers, we evaluated lingual tactile thresholds in the presence and absence of lingual IBA. The presence of IBA significantly raised lingual tactile thresholds, whereas capsaicin did not, identifying a role for mechanosensitive fibers in conveying the tingle sensation evoked by sanshool-like compounds. Collectively, these results show that lingual alkylamide evokes a complex sensation that is temporally dynamic and consistent with in vitro and in vivo experiments suggesting these compounds activate mechanosensitve neurons via blockade of KCNK two-pore potassium channels to induce the novel tingling sensation.
Itch is thought to be signaled by pruritogen-responsive neurons in the superficial spinal dorsal horn. Many neurons here express the substance P NK-1 receptor. We investigated whether neurotoxic destruction of spinal NK-1-expressing neurons affected itch-related scratching behavior. Rats received intracisternal substance P conjugated to saporin (SP-SAP), or saporin (SAP) only (controls), and were subsequently tested for scratching behavior elicited by intradermal 5-hydroxytryptamine. SAP controls exhibited dose-related hindlimb scratching, which was significantly attenuated in SP-SAP-treated rats. There was a virtual absence of NK-1 immunoreactive neurons in superficial laminae of the upper cervical and medullary dorsal horn in SP-SAP-treated rats. These results indicate that superficial dorsal horn neurons expressing NK-1 receptors play a key role in spinal itch transmission.
Human bitter taste is mediated by the hTAS2R family of G protein-coupled receptors. The discovery of the hTAS2Rs enables the potential to develop specific bitter receptor antagonists that could be beneficial as chemical probes to examine the role of bitter receptor function in gustatory and nongustatory tissues. In addition, they could have widespread utility in food and beverages fortified with vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutraceuticals, because many of these have unwanted bitter aftertastes. We employed a high-throughput screening approach to discover a novel bitter receptor antagonist (GIV3727) that inhibits activation of hTAS2R31 (formerly hTAS2R44) by saccharin and acesulfame K, two common artificial sweeteners. Pharmacological analyses revealed that GIV3727 likely acts as an orthosteric, insurmountable antagonist of hTAS2R31. Surprisingly, we also found that this compound could inhibit five additional hTAS2Rs, including the closely related receptor hTAS2R43. Molecular modeling and site-directed mutagenesis studies suggest that two residues in helix 7 are important for antagonist activity in hTAS2R31 and hTAS2R43. In human sensory trials, GIV3727 significantly reduced the bitterness associated with the two sulfonamide sweeteners, indicating that hTAS2R antagonists are active in vivo. Our results demonstrate that small molecule bitter receptor antagonists can effectively reduce the bitter taste qualities of foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.
We evaluated a biodegradable graft for reconstruction of rat vasa deferentia with long obstructed or missing segments. A total of 47 Sprague-Dawley rats underwent bilateral vasectomy and were divided into groups according to length of the vas deferens affected (0.5, 1, 1.5 cm). After 8 weeks, poly-(D,L-lactide) (PDLA) grafts were used to reconnect the vas deferens. Grafts and adjoining vasa deferentia were excised 8 and 12 weeks later and evaluated microscopically. At 8 weeks, microscopic changes included a robust inflammatory response around the grafts. All grafts were still intact but in the early stages of degradation. No microtubules, indicative of vas deferens recanalization, were identified. One specimen showed evidence of healing and neovascularization at the interface zone between the vas deferens and the graft. At 12 weeks, grafts were further degraded but still present. Microscopic evaluation showed decreased inflammation. Seven specimens showed neovascularization at the interface zone; two of these showed distinct epithelialized vas deferens microcanals at the graft edges. One specimen showed a microcanal spanning the entire 0.5-cm graft. A time period of 8 weeks is not ample enough for vas deferens regeneration in the setting of a biodegradable PDLA graft; however, early evidence of re-growth was seen at 12 weeks. A longer healing time should permit further biodegradation of the graft, as well as re-growth and possible eventual reconnection of the vas deferens, allowing passage of sperm. These findings suggest a potential role for biodegradable grafts in the reconstruction of vas deferens with long obstructed segments.
Human sweet taste perception is mediated by the heterodimeric G protein-coupled receptor encoded by the TAS1R2 and TAS1R3 genes. Variation in these genes has been characterized, but the functional consequences of such variation for sweet perception are unknown. We found that two C/T single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located at positions -1572 (rs307355) and -1266 (rs35744813) upstream of the TAS1R3 coding sequence strongly correlate with human taste sensitivity to sucrose and explain 16% of population variability in perception. By using a luciferase reporter assay, we demonstrated that the T allele of each SNP results in reduced promoter activity in comparison to the C alleles, consistent with the phenotype observed in humans carrying T alleles. We also found that the distal region of the TAS1R3 promoter harbors a composite cis-acting element that has a strong silencing effect on promoter activity. We conclude that the rs307355 and rs35744813 SNPs affect gene transcription by altering the function of this regulatory element. A worldwide population survey reveals that the T alleles of rs307355 and rs35744813 occur at lowest frequencies in European populations. We propose that inherited differences in TAS1R3 transcription account for a substantial fraction of worldwide differences in human sweet taste perception.
To test the hypothesis that patients with bladder cancer who had evidence of lymphovascular invasion (LVI) in their transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) and radical cystectomy (RC) specimens would have a worse prognosis and higher likelihood of clinical understaging, and to assess the effect of LVI discovered at RC on subsequent disease-related mortality, as the prognostic significance of LVI in TURBT or RC specimens of patients treated for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder is not completely established.
The enigmatic sensation of tingle involves the activation of primary sensory neurons by hydroxy-alpha-sanshool, a tingly agent in Szechuan peppers, by inhibiting two-pore potassium channels. Central mechanisms mediating tingle sensation are unknown. We investigated whether a stable derivative of sanshool-isobutylalkenyl amide (IBA)-excites wide-dynamic range (WDR) spinal neurons that participate in transmission of chemesthetic information from the skin. In anesthetized rats, the majority of WDR and low-threshold units responded to intradermal injection of IBA in a dose-related manner over a >5-min time course and exhibited tachyphylaxis at higher concentrations (1 and 10%). Almost all WDR and low-threshold units additionally responded to the pungent agents mustard oil (allyl isothiocyanate) and/or capsaicin, prompting reclassification of the low-threshold cells as WDR. The results are discussed in terms of the functional role of WDR neurons in mediating tingle sensation.
The natural switch from fever to hypothermia observed in the most severe cases of systemic inflammation is a phenomenon that continues to puzzle clinicians and scientists. The present study was the first to evaluate in direct experiments how the development of hypothermia vs. fever during severe forms of systemic inflammation impacts the pathophysiology of this malady and mortality rates in rats. Following administration of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 5 or 18 mg/kg) or of a clinical Escherichia coli isolate (5 × 10(9) or 1 × 10(10) CFU/kg), hypothermia developed in rats exposed to a mildly cool environment, but not in rats exposed to a warm environment; only fever was revealed in the warm environment. Development of hypothermia instead of fever suppressed endotoxemia in E. coli-infected rats, but not in LPS-injected rats. The infiltration of the lungs by neutrophils was similarly suppressed in E. coli-infected rats of the hypothermic group. These potentially beneficial effects came with costs, as hypothermia increased bacterial burden in the liver. Furthermore, the hypotensive responses to LPS or E. coli were exaggerated in rats of the hypothermic group. This exaggeration, however, occurred independently of changes in inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins. Despite possible costs, development of hypothermia lessened abdominal organ dysfunction and reduced overall mortality rates in both the E. coli and LPS models. By demonstrating that naturally occurring hypothermia is more advantageous than fever in severe forms of aseptic (LPS-induced) or septic (E. coli-induced) systemic inflammation, this study provides new grounds for the management of this deadly condition.
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