07. January 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorised

An Australian team has discovered that smell and taste receptors normally found in the nose and mouth are also present in heart tissue. The researchers observed these receptors while investigating genes that regulate the growth of the heart, both under normal circumstances and in disease. The work was carried out in mice and repeated in human heart tissue. Twelve different types of taste receptors were found to be expressed in human heart tissue, although those responding to bitter compounds were most prevalent. ‘This is quite remarkable, as the human genome only has 25 of these bitter taste receptors, and we wanted to find out why half of them were located in the heart’, remarked research team leader, Professor Walter Thomas. ‘When we activated one of the taste receptors with a specific chemical that we all taste as bitter, the contractile function of the heart was almost completely inhibited. While the underlying physiology behind this phenomenon remains unclear, this is now a major area of ongoing investigation’. The finding will perhaps not be too surprising to practitioners of Chinese medicine, since the bitter taste is traditionally said to have a special affinity for the Heart. (Researchers find bitter taste receptors on human hearts. http: / / medicalxpress. com / news / 2015-05-bitter-receptors¬≠human-hearts.html Bitter taste receptor agonists elicit G-protein-dependent negative inotropy in the murine heart. FASEB J. 2014 Oct;28(10):4497-508).