The ability to detect many odors varies among individuals; however, the contribution of genotype to this variation has been assessed for relatively few compounds. We have identified a genetic basis for the ability to detect the flavor compound cis-3-hexen-1-ol. This compound is typically described as “green grassy” or the smell of “cut grass,” with variation in the ability to detect it linked to single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a region on human chromosome 6 containing 25 odorant receptor genes. We have sequenced the coding regions of all 25 receptors across an ethnically mixed population of 52 individuals and identified 147 sequence variants. We tested these for association with cis-3-hexen-1-ol detection thresholds and found 3 strongly associated SNPs, including one found in a functional odorant receptor (rs28757581 in OR2J3). In vitro assays of 13 odorant receptors from the region identified 3 receptors that could respond to cis-3-hexen-1-ol, including OR2J3. This gene contained 5 predicted haplotypes across the 52 individuals. We tested all 5 haplotypes in vitro and several amino acid substitutions on their own, such as rs28757581 (T113A). Two amino acid substitutions, T113A and R226Q, impaired the ability of OR2J3 to respond to cis-3-hexen-1-ol, and together these two substitutions effectively abolished the response to the compound. The haplotype of OR2J3 containing both T113A and R226Q explains 26.4% of the variation in cis-3-hexen-1-ol detection in our study cohort. Further research is required to examine whether OR2J3 haplotypes explain variation in perceived flavor experience and the consumption of foods containing cis-3-hexen-1-ol.
cis-3-hexen-1-ol; genetic association; odor; odorant receptor; threshold of detection
The dentate gyrus (DG) and the olfactory bulb (OB) are two regions of the adult brain in which new neurons are integrated daily in the existing networks. It is clearly established that these newborn neurons are implicated in specific functions sustained by these regions and that different factors can influence neurogenesis in both structures. Among these, life events, particularly occurring during early life, were shown to profoundly affect adult hippocampal neurogenesis and its associated functions like spatial learning, but data regarding their impact on adult bulbar neurogenesis are lacking. We hypothesized that prenatal stress could interfere with the development of the olfactory system, which takes place during the prenatal period, leading to alterations in adult bulbar neurogenesis and in olfactory capacities. To test this hypothesis we exposed pregnant C57Bl/6J mice to gestational restraint stress and evaluated behavioral and anatomic consequences in adult male offspring.
We report that prenatal stress has no impact on adult bulbar neurogenesis, and does not alter olfactory functions in adult male mice. However, it decreases cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the DG of the hippocampus, thus confirming previous reports on rats. Altogether our data support a selective and cross-species long-term impact of prenatal stress on neurogenesis.
The prevalence of perceptions of odors and sensations of air humidity and sick building syndrome symptoms in domestic environments were studied using responses to a questionnaire on the home environment. Parents of 4530 1–8 year old children from randomly selected kindergartens in Chongqing, China participated. Stuffy odor, unpleasant odor, pungent odor, mold odor, tobacco smoke odor, humid air and dry air in the last three month (weekly or sometimes) was reported by 31.4%, 26.5%, 16.1%, 10.6%, 33.0%, 32.1% and 37.2% of the parents, respectively. The prevalence of parents’ SBS symptoms (weekly or sometimes) were: 78.7% for general symptoms, 74.3% for mucosal symptoms and 47.5% for skin symptoms. Multi-nominal regression analyses for associations between odors/sensations of air humidity and SBS symptoms showed that the odds ratio for “weekly” SBS symptoms were consistently higher than for “sometimes” SBS symptoms. Living near a main road or highway, redecoration, and new furniture were risk factors for perceptions of odors and sensations of humid air and dry air. Dampness related problems (mold spots, damp stains, water damage and condensation) were all risk factors for perceptions of odors and sensations of humid air and dry air, as was the presence of cockroaches, rats, and mosquitoes/flies, use of mosquito-repellent incense and incense. Protective factors included cleaning the child’s bedroom every day and frequently exposing bedding to sunshine. In conclusion, adults’ perceptions of odors and sensations of humid air and dry air are related to factors of the home environment and SBS symptoms are related to odor perceptions.
Male urinary lipocalin family proteins, practically odorant-binding proteins but also could be pheromones by themselves, in rodents act as a shuttle for chemosignal communication and facilitate delivery of the signals for access to congeners. However, presence of this protein in urine of female rodents has not yet been reported. Therefore, the present investigation was carried out to find if lipocalin family protein is present in the urine of female house rat and, if so, to find whether its expression differs between the phases in the estrous cycle. The rat urinary protein was separated in single dimensional gel electrophoresis. A 14.5 kDa lipocalin protein appeared in the urine prominently during the estrus and metestrus phases compared to proestrus and diestrus phases. The expression of this protein in the urine was very low in ovariectomized rats. MALDI-TOF/MS analysis affirmed the 14.5 kDa protein as a lipocalin family protein. Analysis adopting bio-informatics tools further proved the protein as a lipocalin family member. Thus, this study for the first time demonstrated the presence of a lipocalin family protein in the urine of a female rodent and it was highly expressed during estrus phase. This lipocalin protein in female rat urine may facilitate a chemosignal function independently of a pheromone or in association with a specific pheromone.
With the prevalence of obesity, artificial, non-nutritive sweeteners have been widely used as dietary supplements that provide sweet taste without excessive caloric load. In order to better understand the overall actions of artificial sweeteners, especially when they are chronically used, we investigated the peripheral and central nervous system effects of protracted exposure to a widely used artificial sweetener, acesulfame K (ACK). We found that extended ACK exposure (40 weeks) in normal C57BL/6J mice demonstrated a moderate and limited influence on metabolic homeostasis, including altering fasting insulin and leptin levels, pancreatic islet size and lipid levels, without affecting insulin sensitivity and bodyweight. Interestingly, impaired cognitive memory functions (evaluated by Morris Water Maze and Novel Objective Preference tests) were found in ACK-treated C57BL/6J mice, while no differences in motor function and anxiety levels were detected. The generation of an ACK-induced neurological phenotype was associated with metabolic dysregulation (glycolysis inhibition and functional ATP depletion) and neurosynaptic abnormalities (dysregulation of TrkB-mediated BDNF and Akt/Erk-mediated cell growth/survival pathway) in hippocampal neurons. Our data suggest that chronic use of ACK could affect cognitive functions, potentially via altering neuro-metabolic functions in male C57BL/6J mice.
Activity plays critical roles in development and maintenance of the olfactory system, which undergoes considerable neurogenesis throughout life. In the mouse olfactory epithelium, each olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) stably expresses a single odorant receptor (OR) type out of a repertoire of ∼1200 and the OSNs with the same OR identity are distributed within one of the few broadly-defined zones. However, it remains elusive whether and how activity modulates such OR expression patterns. Here we addressed this question by investigating OR gene expression via in situ hybridization when sensory experience or neuronal excitability is manipulated. We first examined the expression patterns of fifteen OR genes in mice which underwent neonatal, unilateral naris closure. After four-week occlusion, the cell density in the closed (sensory-deprived) side was significantly lower (for four ORs), similar (for three ORs), or significantly higher (for eight ORs) as compared to that in the open (over-stimulated) side, suggesting that sensory inputs have differential effects on OSNs expressing different OR genes. We next examined the expression patterns of seven OR genes in transgenic mice in which mature OSNs had reduced neuronal excitability. Neuronal silencing led to a significant reduction in the cell density for most OR genes tested and thinner olfactory epithelium with an increased density of apoptotic cells. These results suggest that sensory experience plays important roles in shaping OR gene expression patterns and the neuronal activity is critical for survival of OSNs.
Exposure to chemosensory signals from unfamiliar males can terminate pregnancy in recently mated female mice. The number of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons in the main olfactory bulb has been found to increase following mating and has been implicated in preventing male-induced pregnancy block during the post-implantation period. In contrast, pre-implantation pregnancy block is mediated by the vomeronasal system, and is thought to be prevented by selective inhibition of the mate’s pregnancy blocking chemosignals, at the level of the accessory olfactory bulb. The objectives of this study were firstly to identify the level of the vomeronasal pathway at which selective inhibition of the mate’s pregnancy blocking chemosignals occurs. Secondly, to determine whether a post-mating increase in tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons is observed in the vomeronasal system, which could play a role in preventing pre-implantation pregnancy block. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that mating induced an increase in tyrosine-hydroxylase positive neurons in the arcuate hypothalamus of BALB/c females, and suppressed c-Fos expression in these neurons in response to mating male chemosignals. This selective suppression of c-Fos response to mating male chemosignals was not apparent at earlier levels of the pregnancy-blocking neural pathway in the accessory olfactory bulb or corticomedial amygdala. Immunohistochemical staining revealed an increase in the number of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons in the accessory olfactory bulb of BALB/c female mice following mating. However, increased dopamine-mediated inhibition in the accessory olfactory bulb is unlikely to account for the prevention of pregnancy block to the mating male, as tyrosine hydroxylase expression did not increase in females of the C57BL/6 strain, which show normal mate recognition. These findings reveal an association of mating with increased dopaminergic modulation in the pregnancy block pathway and support the hypothesis that mate recognition prevents pregnancy block by suppressing the activation of arcuate dopamine release.
Linking behavioural phenotypes to their underlying genotypes is crucial for uncovering the mechanisms that underpin behaviour and for understanding the origins and maintenance of genetic variation in behaviour. Recently, interest has begun to focus on the transcriptome as a route for identifying genes and gene pathways associated with behaviour. For many behavioural traits studied at the phenotypic level, we have little or no idea of where to start searching for “candidate” genes: the transcriptome provides such a starting point. Here we consider transcriptomic changes associated with oviposition in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Oviposition is a key behaviour for parasitoids, as females are faced with a variety of decisions that will impact offspring fitness. These include choosing between hosts of differing quality, as well as making decisions regarding clutch size and offspring sex ratio. We compared the whole-body transcriptomes of resting or ovipositing female Nasonia using a “DeepSAGE” gene expression approach on the Illumina sequencing platform. We identified 332 tags that were significantly differentially expressed between the two treatments, with 77% of the changes associated with greater expression in resting females. Oviposition therefore appears to focus gene expression away from a number of physiological processes, with gene ontologies suggesting that aspects of metabolism may be down-regulated during egg-laying. Nine of the most abundant differentially expressed tags showed greater expression in ovipositing females though, including the genes purity-of-essence (associated with behavioural phenotypes in Drosophila) and glucose dehydrogenase (GLD). The GLD protein has been implicated in sperm storage and release in Drosophila and so provides a possible candidate for the control of sex allocation by female Nasonia during oviposition. Oviposition in Nasonia therefore clearly modifies the transcriptome, providing a starting point for the genetic dissection of oviposition.
Does hedonic appreciation evolve differently for pleasant odors and unpleasant odors during normal aging? To answer this question we combined psychophysics and electro-encephalographic recordings in young and old adults. A first study showed that pleasant odorants (but not unpleasant ones) were rated as less pleasant by old adults. A second study validated this decrease in hedonic appreciation for agreeable odors and further showed that smelling these odorants decreased beta event-related synchronization in aged participants. In conclusion, the study offers new insights into the evolution of odor hedonic perception during normal aging, highlighting for the first time a change in processing pleasant odors.
Olfactory marker protein (OMP) is highly and selectively expressed in primary olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) across species, but its physiological function remains unclear. Previous studies in the olfactory epithelium suggest that it accelerates the neural response to odorants and may modulate the odorant-selectivity of OSNs. Here we used a line of gene-targeted mice that express the fluorescent exocytosis indicator synaptopHluorin in place of OMP to compare spatiotemporal patterns of odorant-evoked neurotransmitter release from OSNs in adult mice that were heterozygous for OMP or OMP-null. We found that these patterns, which constitute the primary neural representation of each odorant, developed more slowly during the odorant presentation in OMP knockout mice but eventually reached the same magnitude as in heterozygous mice. In the olfactory bulb, each glomerulus receives synaptic input from a subpopulation of OSNs that all express the same odor receptor and thus typically respond to a specific subset of odorants. We observed that in OMP knockout mice, OSNs innervating a given glomerulus typically responded to a broader range of odorants than in OMP heterozygous mice and thus each odorant evoked synaptic input to a larger number of glomeruli. In an olfactory habituation task, OMP knockout mice behaved differently than wild-type mice, exhibiting a delay in their onset to investigate an odor stimulus during its first presentation and less habituation to that stimulus over repeated presentations. These results suggest that the actions of OMP in olfactory transduction carry through to the primary sensory representations of olfactory stimuli in adult mice in vivo.
Decrease of olfactory function in Parkinson's disease (PD) is a well-investigated fact. Studies indicate that pharmacological treatment of PD fails to restore olfactory function in PD patients. The aim of this investigation was whether patients with PD would benefit from “training” with odors in terms of an improvement of their general olfactory function. It has been hypothesized that olfactory training should produce both an improved sensitivity towards the odors used in the training process and an overall increase of olfactory function.
We recruited 70 subjects with PD and olfactory loss into this single-center, prospective, controlled non-blinded study. Thirty-five patients were assigned to the olfactory training group and 35 subjects to the control group (no training). Olfactory training was performed over a period of 12 weeks while patients exposed themselves twice daily to four odors (phenyl ethyl alcohol: rose, eucalyptol: eucalyptus, citronellal: lemon, and eugenol: cloves). Olfactory testing was performed before and after training using the “Sniffin' Sticks” (thresholds for phenyl ethyl alcohol, tests for odor discrimination, and odor identification) in addition to threshold tests for the odors used in the training process.
Compared to baseline, trained PD patients experienced a significant increase in their olfactory function, which was observed for the Sniffin' Sticks test score and for thresholds for the odors used in the training process. Olfactory function was unchanged in PD patients who did not perform olfactory training.
The present results indicate that olfactory training may increase olfactory sensitivity in PD patients.
Based on pharmacological studies of chemosensory transduction in transient receptor potential channel M5 (TRPM5) knockout mice it was hypothesized that this channel is involved in transduction for a subset of putative pheromones in mouse olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). Yet, in the same study an electroolfactogram (EOG) in the mouse olfactory epithelium showed no significant difference in the responses to pheromones (and odors) between wild type and TRPM5 knockout mice. Here we show that the number of OSNs expressing TRPM5 is increased by unilateral naris occlusion. Importantly, EOG experiments show that mice lacking TRPM5 show a decreased response in the occluded epithelia to putative pheromones as opposed to wild type mice that show no change upon unilateral naris occlusion. This evidence indicates that under decreased olfactory sensory input TRPM5 plays a role in mediating putative pheromone transduction. Furthermore, we demonstrate that cyclic nucleotide gated channel A2 knockout (CNGA2-KO) mice that show substantially decreased or absent responses to odors and pheromones also have elevated levels of TRPM5 compared to wild type mice. Taken together, our evidence suggests that TRPM5 plays a role in mediating transduction for putative pheromones under conditions of reduced chemosensory input.
The nature of the olfactory receptor in crustaceans, a major group of arthropods, has remained elusive. We report that spiny lobsters, Panulirus argus, express ionotropic receptors (IRs), the insect chemosensory variants of ionotropic glutamate receptors. Unlike insects IRs, which are expressed in a specific subset of olfactory cells, two lobster IR subunits are expressed in most, if not all, lobster olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), as confirmed by antibody labeling and in situ hybridization. Ligand-specific ORN responses visualized by calcium imaging are consistent with a restricted expression pattern found for other potential subunits, suggesting that cell-specific expression of uncommon IR subunits determines the ligand sensitivity of individual cells. IRs are the only type of olfactory receptor that we have detected in spiny lobster olfactory tissue, suggesting that they likely mediate olfactory signaling. Given long-standing evidence for G protein-mediated signaling in activation of lobster ORNs, this finding raises the interesting specter that IRs act in concert with second messenger-mediated signaling.
A large set of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes (XMEs), such as the cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs), esterases and transferases, are highly expressed in mammalian olfactory mucosa (OM). These enzymes are known to catalyze the biotransformation of exogenous compounds to facilitate elimination. However, the functions of these enzymes in the olfactory epithelium are not clearly understood. In addition to protecting against inhaled toxic compounds, these enzymes could also metabolize odorant molecules, and thus modify their stimulating properties or inactivate them. In the present study, we investigated the in vitro biotransformation of odorant molecules in the rat OM and assessed the impact of this metabolism on peripheral olfactory responses. Rat OM was found to efficiently metabolize quinoline, coumarin and isoamyl acetate. Quinoline and coumarin are metabolized by CYPs whereas isoamyl acetate is hydrolyzed by carboxylesterases. Electro-olfactogram (EOG) recordings revealed that the hydroxylated metabolites derived from these odorants elicited lower olfactory response amplitudes than the parent molecules. We also observed that glucurono-conjugated derivatives induced no olfactory signal. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the local application of a CYP inhibitor on rat olfactory epithelium increased EOG responses elicited by quinoline and coumarin. Similarly, the application of a carboxylesterase inhibitor increased the EOG response elicited by isoamyl acetate. This increase in EOG amplitude provoked by XME inhibitors is likely due to enhanced olfactory sensory neuron activation in response to odorant accumulation. Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that biotransformation of odorant molecules by enzymes localized to the olfactory mucosa may change the odorant’s stimulating properties and may facilitate the clearance of odorants to avoid receptor saturation.
In addition to the canonical olfactory receptors, TAARs were currently suggested to be a second class of chemosensory receptors in the olfactory epithelium of vertebrates. In contrast to several deorphanized murine TAARs, agonists for the intact human TAAR genes 2, 5, 6, 8 and 9 that are potentially expressed in the human olfactory epithelium have not been determined so far. Moreover, the physiological relevance of TAARs still remains elusive. We present the first successful functional expression of a human TAAR and agonists of human TAAR5. We performed a ligand screening using recombinantly expressed human TAAR5 in HANA3A cells and Xenopus laevis oocytes. In order to measure receptor activity, we used a cAMP-dependent reporter gene assay and two-electrode voltage clamp technique. As a result, human TAAR5 can be activated in a concentration-dependent manner by trimethylamine and with less efficacy by dimethylethylamine. It could neither be activated by any other of the tested single amines with a related chemical structure (42 in total), nor by any of the tested odorant mixtures. The hypothesis that Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) within the reading frame of an olfactory receptor gene can cause a specific anosmia, formed the basis for clarifying the question, if anosmia for trimethylamine is caused by a SNP in a TAAR coding sequence. All functional human TAAR gene reading frames of subjects with specific anosmia for trimethylamine were amplified and products analyzed regarding SNP distribution. We demonstrated that the observed specific anosmia for trimethylamine is not correlated with a SNP in the coding sequence of one of the putatively functional human TAAR genes.
Cotesia vestalis is an endoparasitic wasp that attacks larvae of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a herbivore of cruciferous plants. Females of C. vestalis use herbivore-induced plant odorants released from plants infested by P. xylostella as a host-searching cue. Transcriptome pyrosequencing was used to identify genes in the antennae of C. vestalis adult females coding for odorant receptors (ORs) and odorant binding proteins (OBPs) involved in insect olfactory perception. Quantitative gene expression analyses showed that a few OR and OBP genes were expressed exclusively in the antenna of C. vestalis adult females whereas most other classes of genes were expressed in the antennae of both males and females, indicating their diversity in importance for the olfactory sensory system. Together, transcriptome profiling of C. vestalis genes involved in the antennal odorant-sensory system helps in detecting genes involved in host- and food-search behaviors through infochemically-mediated interactions.
Although adult-born neurons in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and olfactory bulb (OB) have been extensively characterized at the cellular level, their functional impact on olfactory behavior is still highly controversial with many conflicting results reported in the literature. Furthermore, signaling mechanisms regulating adult SVZ/OB neurogenesis are not well defined. Here we report that inducible and targeted deletion of erk5, a MAP kinase selectively expressed in the adult neurogenic regions of the adult brain, impairs adult neurogenesis in the SVZ and OB of transgenic mice. Although erk5 deletion had no effect on olfactory discrimination among discrete odorants in the habituation/dishabituation assay, it reduced short-term olfactory memory as well as detection sensitivity to odorants and pheromones including those evoking aggression and fear. Furthermore, these mice show impaired acquisition of odor-cued associative olfactory learning, a novel phenotype that had not been previously linked to adult neurogenesis. These data suggest that ERK5 MAP kinase is a critical kinase signaling pathway regulating adult neurogenesis in the SVZ/OB, and provide strong evidence supporting a functional role for adult neurogenesis in several distinct forms of olfactory behavior.
Brazilian green propolis is a popular health supplement because of its various biological properties. The ethanol extract of Brazilian green propolis (EEBP) is characteristic for its herb-like smell and unique pungent taste. However, the ingredients responsible for its pungency have not yet been identified. This study provides the first evidence that artepillin C is the main pungent ingredient in EEBP and that it potently activates human transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) channels. EEBP was fractionated using column chromatography with a step gradient elution of an ethanol-water solution, and the fractions having the pungent taste were determined by sensory tests. HPLC analysis revealed that the pungent fraction was composed primarily of artepillin C, a prenylated derivative of cinnamic acid. Artepillin C was also identified as the pungent compound of EEBP by organoleptic examiners. Furthermore, the effects of artepillin C and other cinnamic acids found in EEBP on TRPA1 channels were examined by calcium imaging and plate reader-based assays in human TRPA1-expressing cells to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying their pungent tastes. Artepillin C and baccharin activated the TRPA1 channel strongly, whereas drupanin caused a slight activation and p-coumaric acid showed no activation. Because the EC50 values of artepillin C, baccharin, and allyl isothiocyanate were 1.8 µM, 15.5 µM, and 6.2 µM, respectively, artepillin C was more potent than the typical TRPA1 agonist allyl isothiocyanate. These findings strongly indicate that artepillin C is the main pungent ingredient in EEBP and stimulates a pungent taste by activating TRPA1 channels.
So far, an overall view of olfactory structures activated by natural biologically relevant odors in the awake rat is not available. Manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) is appropriate for this purpose. While MEMRI has been used for anatomical labeling of olfactory pathways, functional imaging analyses have not yet been performed beyond the olfactory bulb. Here, we have used MEMRI for functional imaging of rat central olfactory structures and for comparing activation maps obtained with odors conveying different biological messages.
Odors of male fox feces and of chocolate flavored cereals were used to stimulate conscious rats previously treated by intranasal instillation of manganese (Mn). MEMRI activation maps showed Mn enhancement all along the primary olfactory cortex. Mn enhancement elicited by male fox feces odor and to a lesser extent that elicited by chocolate odor, differed from that elicited by deodorized air. This result was partly confirmed by c-Fos immunohistochemistry in the piriform cortex.
By providing an overall image of brain structures activated in awake rats by odorous stimulation, and by showing that Mn enhancement is differently sensitive to different stimulating odors, the present results demonstrate the interest of MEMRI for functional studies of olfaction in the primary olfactory cortex of laboratory small animals, under conditions close to natural perception. Finally, the factors that may cause the variability of the MEMRI signal in response to different odor are discussed.
Antennal olfaction is extremely important for insect survival, mediating key behaviors such as host preference, mate choice, and oviposition site selection. Multiple antennal proteins are involved in olfactory signal transduction pathways. Of these, odorant receptors (ORs) and ionotropic receptors (IRs) confer specificity on olfactory sensory neuron responses. In this study, we identified the olfactory gene repertoire of the economically important agricultural pest moth, Helicoverpa armigera, by assembling the adult male and female antennal transcriptomes. Within the male and female antennal transcriptomes we identified a total of 47 OR candidate genes containing 6 pheromone receptor candidates. Additionally, 12 IR genes as well as 26 odorant-binding proteins and 12 chemosensory proteins were annotated. Our results allow a systematic functional analysis across much of conventional ORs repertoire and newly reported IRs mediating the key olfaction-mediated behaviors of H. armigera.
When two different odorants are presented simultaneously to the two nostrils, we experience alternations in olfactory percepts, a phenomenon called binaral rivalry. Little is known about the nature of such alternations. Here we investigate this issue by subjecting unstable and stable olfactory percepts to the influences of visual perceptual or semantic cues as participants engage in simultaneous samplings of either two different odorants (binaral) or a single odorant and water (mononaral), one to each nostril. We show that alternations of olfactory percepts in the binaral setting persist in the presence of visual perceptual and semantic modulations. We also show that perceptual cues have a stronger effect than semantic cues in the binaral case, whereas their effects are comparable in the mononaral setting. Our findings provide evidence that an inherent, stimulus-driven process underlies binaral rivalry despite its general susceptibility to top-down influences.
The molecular mechanisms of the mammalian gustatory system have been examined in many studies using rodents as model organisms. In this study, we examined the mRNA expression of molecules involved in taste signal transduction in the fungiform papillae (FuP) and circumvallate papillae (CvP) of the rhesus macaque, Macaca mulatta, using in situ hybridization. TAS1R1, TAS1R2, TAS2Rs, and PKD1L3 were exclusively expressed in different subsets of taste receptor cells (TRCs) in the FuP and CvP. This finding suggests that TRCs sensing different basic taste modalities are mutually segregated in macaque taste buds. Individual TAS2Rs exhibited a variety of expression patterns in terms of the apparent level of expression and the number of TRCs expressing these genes, as in the case of human TAS2Rs. GNAT3, but not GNA14, was expressed in TRCs of FuP, whereas GNA14 was expressed in a small population of TRCs of CvP, which were distinct from GNAT3- or TAS1R2-positive TRCs. These results demonstrate similarities and differences between primates and rodents in the expression profiles of genes involved in taste signal transduction.
Two thirds of US adults are either obese or overweight and this rate is rising. Although the etiology of obesity is not yet fully understood, neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that the central nervous system has a principal role in regulating eating behavior. In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging and survey data were evaluated for correlations between food-related problem behaviors and the neural regions underlying responses to visual food cues before and after eating in normal-weight individuals and overweight/obese individuals. In normal-weight individuals, activity in the left amygdala in response to high-calorie food vs. nonfood object cues was positively correlated with impaired satiety scores during fasting, suggesting that those with impaired satiety scores may have an abnormal anticipatory reward response. In overweight/obese individuals, activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in response to low-calorie food cues was negatively correlated with impaired satiety during fasting, suggesting that individuals scoring lower in satiety impairment were more likely to activate the DLPFC inhibitory system. After eating, activity in both the putamen and the amygdala was positively correlated with impaired satiety scores among obese/overweight participants. While these individuals may volitionally suggest they are full, their functional response to food cues suggests food continues to be salient. These findings suggest brain regions involved in the evaluation of visual food cues may be mediated by satiety-related problems, dependent on calorie content, state of satiation, and body mass index.
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) plays an important role in regulating appetite and hunger in vertebrates. In the hypothalamus, NPY stimulates food intake under the control of the nutritional status. Previous studies have shown the presence of NPY and receptors in rodent olfactory system, and suggested a neuroproliferative role. Interestingly, NPY was also shown to directly modulate olfactory responses evoked by a food-related odorant in hungry axolotls. We have recently demonstrated that another nutritional cue, insulin, modulates the odorant responses of the rat olfactory mucosa (OM). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the potential effect of NPY on rat OM responses to odorants, in relation to the animal's nutritional state. We measured the potential NPY modulation of OM responses to odorant, using electro-olfactogram (EOG) recordings, in fed and fasted adult rats. NPY application significantly and transiently increased EOG amplitudes in fasted but not in fed rats. The effects of specific NPY-receptor agonists were similarly quantified, showing that NPY operated mainly through Y1 receptors. These receptors appeared as heterogeneously expressed by olfactory neurons in the OM, and western blot analysis showed that they were overexpressed in fasted rats. These data provide the first evidence that NPY modulates the initial events of odorant detection in the rat OM. Because this modulation depends on the nutritional status of the animal, and is ascribed to NPY, the most potent orexigenic peptide in the central nervous system, it evidences a strong supplementary physiological link between olfaction and nutritional processes.
The multiligand Receptor for Advanced Glycation End products (RAGE) is involved in various pathophysiological processes, including diabetic inflammatory conditions and Alzheimes disease. Full-length RAGE, a cell surface-located type I membrane protein, can proteolytically be converted by metalloproteinases ADAM10 and MMP9 into a soluble RAGE form. Moreover, administration of recombinant soluble RAGE suppresses activation of cell surface-located RAGE by trapping RAGE ligands. Therefore stimulation of RAGE shedding might have a therapeutic value regarding inflammatory diseases. We aimed to investigate whether RAGE shedding is inducible via ligand-induced activation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). We chose three different GPCRs coupled to distinct signaling cascades: the V2 vasopressin receptor (V2R) activating adenylyl cyclase, the oxytocin receptor (OTR) linked to phospholipase Cβ, and the PACAP receptor (subtype PAC1) coupled to adenylyl cyclase, phospholipase Cβ, calcium signaling and MAP kinases. We generated HEK cell lines stably coexpressing an individual GPCR and full-length RAGE and then investigated GPCR ligand-induced activation of RAGE shedding. We found metalloproteinase-mediated RAGE shedding on the cell surface to be inducible via ligand-specific activation of all analyzed GPCRs. By using specific inhibitors we have identified Ca2+ signaling, PKCα/PKCβI, CaMKII, PI3 kinases and MAP kinases to be involved in PAC1 receptor-induced RAGE shedding. We detected an induction of calcium signaling in all our cell lines coexpressing RAGE and different GPCRs after agonist treatment. However, we did not disclose a contribution of adenylyl cyclase in RAGE shedding induction. Furthermore, by using a selective metalloproteinase inhibitor and siRNA-mediated knock-down approaches, we show that ADAM10 and/or MMP9 are playing important roles in constitutive and PACAP-induced RAGE shedding. We also found that treatment of mice with PACAP increases the amount of soluble RAGE in the mouse lung. Our findings suggest that pharmacological stimulation of RAGE shedding might open alternative treatment strategies for Alzheimeŕs disease and diabetes-induced inflammation.