Sensitive periods for the effect of dietary sodium restriction on intact and denervated taste receptor cells

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12 Scopus citations


Unilateral chorda tympani nerve (CT) section combined with dietary sodium restriction leads to striking alterations in sodium taste function. The regenerated rat CT exhibits deficits in sodium sensitivity, and surprisingly, there are also functional alterations in the intact, contralateral nerve. The studies presented here describe the functional "sensitive periods" for these aberrations and the number of taste buds present during corresponding stages. The regenerated CT is sensitive to dietary sodium restriction during the first 2 wk after denervation, whereas the intact CT is sensitive to dietary manipulation during the first week postsection. Therefore, distinct mechanisms are responsible for the effects of sodium restriction combined with denervation, because separate sensitive periods exist for the regenerated and intact CT nerves. Identification of mature taste buds with an antibody directed at anti-keratin 19 revealed that there is a loss of ∼85% of taste buds on the denervated side of the tongue under control and low-sodium diets within the first week postsection. Thus, sodium restriction does not differentially affect the loss of taste buds following denervation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1275-R1284
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 52-5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Amiloride
  • Chorda tympani nerve
  • Electrophysiology
  • Keratin 19
  • Neural degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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