Differences in taste responses to Polycose and common sugars in the rat as revealed by behavioral and electrophysiological studies

Noritaka Sako, Tsuyoshi Shimura, Mayumi Komure, Ryuichi Mochizuki, Ryuji Matsuo, Takashi Yamamoto

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Behavioral and electrophysiological experiments were performed to examine the suggestion that rats have two types of carbohydrate taste receptors, one for polysaccharides (e.g., Polycose) and one for common sugars (e.g., sucrose). Qualitative difference between the tastes of Polycose and sugars including sucrose, maltose, glucose, and fructose was surveyed by means of a conditioned taste aversion paradigm in which the number of licks for 20 s to each taste stimulus was measured. Aversive conditioning to Polycose did not generalize to sugars, while aversive conditioning to sucrose generalized to other sugars, but not to Polycose. In the electrophysiological study, taste responses of the whole chorda tympani were recorded. A proteolytic enzyme, pronase E, suppressed nerve responses to both Polycose and sugars to less than 50%. A novel anti-sweet peptide, gurmarin, strongly suppressed responses to sugars, but had essentially no effect on Polycose responses. On the other hand, KHCO3 enhanced responses to sugars to about 300%, but had little effect on Polycose responses. These results have confirmed the notion that rats can differentiate the tastes between Polycose and common sugars and that rats have two types of carbohydrate receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-745
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes



  • Chorda tympani
  • Conditioned taste aversion
  • Electrophysiology
  • Gurmarin
  • Polycose
  • Pronase
  • Sugars
  • Taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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