Gustatory responses of the hamster Mesocricetus auratus to various compounds considered sweet by humans

Vicktoria Danilova, Göran Hellekant, Jean Marie Tinti, Claude Nofre

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The taste of 30 compounds was studied in the golden hamster with three different methods: single-fiber recordings, two-bottle preference (TBP), and conditioned taste aversion (CTA) tests. On the whole, the results showed that the sense of taste in the hamster differs in many respects from that in humans because, of 26 tested compounds known as sweet to humans, 11 had no taste or tasted differently. The results also supported the notion that activity in S-fibers elicits liking and activity in Q- or H-fibers rejection. Specifically hierarchial cluster analysis of 36 single fibers from the chorda tympani proper nerve separated N-, H-, and S-clusters consisting of 11 sucrose-, 14 NaCl-, and 11 citric-best fibers. Ace-K, cyanosuosan, N-4- cyanophenyl-N'-cyanoguanidineacetate (CCGA), D-tryptophan, N-3,5- dichlorophenyl-N'-(S)-α-methylbenzylguanidineacetate (DMGA), saccharin, SC- 45647, and suosan stimulated only the S-fibers, were significantly preferred in TBP tests, and generalized to sucrose in the CTA tests. Ethylene glycol stimulated the N-fibers in addition to the S-fibers. This explains its generalization to sucrose in CTA. Its toxicity may contribute to its rejection in TBP tests. Sodium cyclamate stimulated a few N- but no S- fibers, which may explain the nondiscriminatory TBP and CTA results. Glycine elicited its largest response in the S-fibers, although it also stimulated other fibers. The resulting mixed taste sensation may explain why it was not preferred in TBP, although it generalized to sucrose in the CTA. Alitame, aspartame, N-4-cyanophenylcarbamoyl-L-aspartyl(R)-α-methylbenzylamine (CAM), N-4-cyanophenylcarbamoyl(R, S)-3-amino-3-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl) propionic acid (CAMPA), N-(S)-2-methylhexanoyl-L-glutamyl-5-amino-2- pyridinecarbonitrile (MAGAP), N-1-naphthoyl-L-glutamyl-5-amino-2- pyridinecarbonitrile (NAGAP), NHDHC, superaspartame, and thaumatin were among the compounds considered sweet by humans that gave no response, were not discriminated in the TBP test, and gave no generalization in the CTA tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2102-2112
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1998


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