Journal Article

Developmental Changes in Sugar Responses of the Chorda Tympani Nerve in Preweanling Rats

Shuitsu Harada and Shinji Maeda

in Chemical Senses

Volume 29, issue 3, pages 209-215
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0379-864X
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3553 | DOI:
Developmental Changes in Sugar Responses of the Chorda Tympani Nerve in Preweanling Rats

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To clarify developmental changes in the gustatory system of the rat, integrated taste responses from the chorda tympani (CT) nerve were recorded and analyzed at different postnatal ages. The response magnitude was calculated relative to the response to the standard, 0.1 M NH4Cl. Even at 1 week of age, the CT responded well to all tested 0.1 M chloride salts (NH4Cl, NaCl, LiCl, KCl, RbCl and CsCl). The responses to 0.1 M NaCl and LiCl increased with increasing age of the rat while response magnitudes to KCl, RbCl and CsCl did not change up to 8 weeks. At 1 week, the integrated response pattern was quite similar to that in adult rats for NaCl, HCl and quinine hydrochloride (QHCl). The concentration–response functions for NaCl, HCl, QHCl and sucrose at 2 weeks were essentially the same as those at 8 weeks. These results suggest that taste buds in the 2-week-old rat are functionally mature for the detection of the four basic taste stimuli. The relative magnitude of the responses to the various sugars was smaller at 1 week compared to the adult rat and reached a maximum at weeks 3–4, then decreased gradually with age. Among the six sugars, sucrose was the most effective followed by lactose. From weeks 1–4, the magnitude of the integrated taste response to fructose was smaller than that to lactose except at 3 weeks of age. Maltose, galactose and glucose were less potent stimuli than the other sugars tested. The response magnitude to lactose at 4 weeks had decreased compared to that for the other sugars. Taste responses to the sugars in preweanling and adult rats were not cross-adapted by the individual sugars. These results suggest that after 1 week of age during postnatal development in the rat, taste information from the CT rapidly increases in its importance for feeding behavior.

Keywords: : chorda tympani, development, rat, taste, weanling

Journal Article.  4234 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Molecular and Cell Biology

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