Researchers in the Department of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have identified taste receptors in the human intestines. The taste receptor T1R3 and the taste G protein gustducin are critical to sweet taste in the tongue. Research now shows these two sweet-sensing proteins are also expressed in specialized taste cells of the gut where they sense glucose within the intestine.
We now know that the receptors that sense sugar and artificial sweeteners are not limited to the tongue. Our work is an important advance for the new field of gastrointestinal chemosensation - how the cells of the gut detect and respond to sugars and other nutrients, said lead author, Robert F. Margolskee, MD, PhD Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Cells of the gut taste glucose through the same mechanisms used by taste cells of the tongue. The gut taste cells regulate secretion of insulin and hormones that regulate appetite. Our work sheds new light on how we regulate sugar uptake from our diets and regulate blood sugar levels.
These new findings, just published online in the August 20th, 2007 Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may lead to new treatments for obesity and diabetes. The two new studies are titled- T1R3 and gustducin in gut sense sugars to regulate expression of Na+-glucose cotransporter 1 and Gut-expressed gustducin and taste receptors regulate secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1.
This work may explain why current artificial sweeteners may not help with weight loss, and may lead to the production of new non-caloric sweeteners to better control weight, said Dr. Margolskee. Sensing glucose in the gastrointestinal tract is the first step in regulating blood sugar levels. Having discovered the identity of the guts sweet receptors may open the way for new treatment options for obesity and diabetes.
How Taste Receptors Work
Prior to this research, the
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