Food Reward in the Absence of Taste Receptor Signaling


Authors:de Araujo, I. E., Oliveira-Maia, A. J., Sotnikova, T. D., Gainetdinov, R. R., Caron, M. G., Ncolelis, M. A. L. and Simon, S. A.
Animal study (mice) suggests that calorie-dense nutrients act on brain reward circuits and that this function is independent of the foods palpability and taste transduction. These mice supposedly lacked the cellular machinery to be able to taste and interpret "sweetness" (taste transduction). These mice nonetheless developed a robust preference for sweetness. However, researchers surmise that the reason for this must be solely due to a preference for caloric content. The sucrose induced a dopamine release in the ventral striatum of these "sweet-blind" mice -- that is not proving that the dopamine response is solely due to calorie content within sugar -- it could suggest there are other mechanisms for identifying the presence of sweetness beyond the taste transduction that was not present in these mice.